The word 'painstaking' has a such entry in merriam-webster.
Does this word have a positive meaning or a negative one?
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This is the Merriam-Webster entry for painstaking:
: taking pains : expending, showing, or involving diligent care and effort
// painstaking research
// painstaking tasks
// painstaking accuracy
Neither diligent care and effort nor painstaking have any positive or negative meaning. Painstaking itself is neutral, but you can use it in the context of something that is either positive or negative.
The Online Etymology Dictionary says the following about painstaking:
1550s, paynes taking, "assiduous and careful labor" (n.), 1690s, "characterized by close or conscientious application, laborious and careful" (adj.), from plural of pain (n.) in the "exertion, effort" sense + present participle of take (v.). Related: Painstakingly.
As such, it is not related to the sense of pain that means discomfort or distress, but to its other, plural, sense:
3 pains plural : trouble, care, or effort taken to accomplish something
// was at pains to reassure us
The way that I typically use the word "painstaking" is in a negative connotation (that is, meaning).
For instance, "I put hours of painstaking work into that job, all to get fired?"
I use the word in a negative context, however the word itself is describing the work I put in, so the adjective is being used in a positive manner.