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Dr. Goodword
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Postby Dr. Goodword » Fri Feb 22, 2013 11:11 pm

• fastidious •

Pronunciation: fês-ti-di-ês • Hear it!

Part of Speech: Adjective

Meaning: You don't have to be fast to be fastidious. Today's Good Word means: 1. Easily disgusted, squeamish, hypersensitive to imperfection in matters of taste and cleanliness. 2. (Microbiology) Complicated in feeding and nutritional needs.

Notes: Fastidious, meticulous, and punctilious are near synonyms, but careful speakers and writers distinguish them in use. Meticulous implies a general hypersensitive attention to details, as a meticulous accountant who checks and rechecks all his figures. Punctilious most often refers to hypersensitive attention to rules of conduct, as a chairman who is punctilious in his observance of Robert's Rules of Order. Our word, fastidious, more generally applies to matters of taste and cleanliness and implies squeamishness to imperfection, as someone might keep a fastidious home or dress fastidiously. The adverb is fastidiously and the noun is fastidiousness. If you want to have some fun, you might try fastidiosity; you won't be the first.

In Play: It is always safe to express attention to detail in matters of propriety and cleanliness with today's Good Word: "Barbie Dahl always set a fastidious table, with expensive settings on a spotless white tablecloth." As with all words, though, broadening the meaning of this word is where the fun lies: "William Arami fastidiously ogled the bridesmaids in hopes of finding a hint of the woman he himself might marry."

Word History: In Middle English today's Good Word meant "squeamish, haughty", a meaning close to the original Latin adjective fastidiosus, which came from fastidium "nausea, squeamishness, loathing". This noun would seem to be based on fastus "pride, arrogance" + taedium "weariness", the source of English tedium and, ultimately, tedious. Neither of the roots of these two words appears in other Indo-European languages, which leaves a material curtain of mystery around both. (Today we thank Loren Baldwin, whose fastidious taste in words led to the suggestion that we run this one as today's Good Word.)
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Postby MTC » Sat Feb 23, 2013 8:10 am

Agatha Christie's fictional detective, Hercule Poirot, embodies, or to use a GWOTD, "reifies" "fastidiousness." Here is a description of the Poirot character I found online:

"Although Poirot is himself a literary cousin to Edgar Allan Poe’s Dupin, it took an eccentric, fastidious, glib little Belgium man to remake the genre’s stock character of the ‘foreign detective’ into an endearing and (literally) well-rounded form.

With his fabulous moustache, impeccable "little grey cells," and obsession with cleanliness and symmetry, Hercule Poirot enjoyed a long and full career, and fathered several fictional sons including Marreau, Inspector Clousseau, and Agatha’s Christie’s own spoof of her creation, Sven Hjerson."

( ... re-a349147)

Personally, I find Poirot's mincing perfection fairly nauseating, but I guess the estimated 700,000,000 viewers of the T.V. Poirot series, do not. De gustibus...

"Fastidious" is a relative term because tastes and standards change. Spearing a chunk of roast at a medieval banquet with neat precision would not come across as "fastidious" to modern diners, but it might to knights and ladies of the time.

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Postby LukeJavan8 » Sat Feb 23, 2013 12:37 pm

I get 'squeamish' at the sight of blood, as when
the vampires take a 'draw' at the Dr.'s office, or
when watching murder mysteries on TV, even
when I know they are plastic and rubber organs.
-----please, draw me a sheep-----

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Postby Philip Hudson » Sun Feb 24, 2013 12:53 am

Being fastidious, meticulous, or punctilious to an extreme can be a symptom of a serious mental problem called obsessive-compulsive disorder. I have seen this problem devastate lives. The person who can chill-out is better off than the person who is compelled to be any of the three. Take it from this careless, indolent slob, it ain't all that important to the whole scheme of things.
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Postby Perry Lassiter » Sun Feb 24, 2013 3:54 am

Yes, OCD is terrible. Once counseled a guy who brought 13 test tubes home for his wife to help him count them repeatedly! The TV detective, Monk, had an extreme case. It's an exagerration of a natural tendency. After all, who hasn't gone back to see whether you left an appliance on or locked the door?

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