The original meaning of punctual described a puncture made by a surgeon. The word has meant lots of other things through the centuries, usually involving being precise about small points. And today punctuality is all about time; a punctual train or a punctual payment or a punctual person shows up "on the dot".
Recent Examples on the WebBy comparison, 68 and 79 percent of buses were punctual on the first and second day last year. James Vaznis, BostonGlobe.com, 12 Sep. 2022 The Parks and Recreation cookbook will be available in late June, but fans can be prepared and punctual by preordering it now. Sabrina Weiss, Peoplemag, 22 Aug. 2022 Joseph and Jeannine couldn’t understand why they hadn’t been contacted when their punctual son missed two days of work. Kiera Feldmanstaff Writer, Los Angeles Times, 12 July 2022 Acoustics were good, but the punctual audience was very much disturbed by latecomers tramping down the aisles.San Diego Union-Tribune, 8 July 2022 Marrisa, who is always punctual, arrived first and had to wait a few minutes for André, who was tied up at work. Vijai Nathan, Washington Post, 9 June 2022 Someone can be a punctual employee at one job and still steal from the cash register at another. Nicole Bedera, Time, 2 June 2022 These should be handled proactively with town hall meetings, quarterly meetings, yearly meetings and punctual strategy meetings with the decision-makers. Gabriel Tupula, Forbes, 4 May 2022 Yet somehow, this song’s defeated, distracted majesty feels punctual. Chris Richards, Washington Post, 3 June 2022 See More
Middle English, having a sharp point, from Medieval Latin punctualis of a point, from Latin punctus pricking, point, from pungere to prick — more at pungent