The adjective careful is a general term that describes people who take pains in their work (a careful typist), or things done or performed with accuracy or caution (careful research). Meticulous describes people that are not just careful, but extremely attentive to the minute details of a project or task. In other words, someone who is meticulous sweats the small stuff! Reflecting its Latin roots, meticulous entered English meaning “fearful.” It came to describe people who were scrupulous to a fault. Nowadays, meticulous is mostly favorable, describing work that is well done or people that are reliably and impressively thorough—though it does still carry a whiff of obsessive desire to avoid error.
The key idea of the word embodiment is packed right into the middle of the term itself: body. This noun is used to talk about a person or thing that embodies a principle or idea, or, put another way, a material (bodily) form of something immaterial (abstract). The synonym epitome is used of a person or thing that is typical of or possesses to a high degree the features of a whole class. This term moves us closer to the notion of an ideal or perfect example of something, and skews positive (epitome of luxury, epitome of elegance), though both terms are found with some regularity in discussion of evil (embodiment of evil, epitome of evil).
The nouns tact and finesse overlap in many ways. Their differences are made visible in how they are used. Tact is often discussed as a thing a person possesses, like a sixth sense for what is appropriate in social setting: He had enough tact to not ask the question in public. Finesse is something that is shown or applied in an action, and this term is not necessarily concerned with social suavity: The author wove together the myriad storylines with great finesse. The artfulness implied in finesse further distinguishes it from tact. While tact implies great sensitivity and empathy, finesse suggests extreme delicacy.