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precious

[presh-uh s] /ˈprɛʃ əs/
adjective
1.
of high price or great value; very valuable or costly:
precious metals.
2.
highly esteemed for some spiritual, nonmaterial, or moral quality:
precious memories.
3.
dear; beloved:
a precious child.
4.
affectedly or excessively delicate, refined, or nice:
precious manners.
5.
flagrant; gross:
a precious fool.
noun
6.
a dearly beloved person; darling.
adverb
7.
extremely; very:
She wastes precious little time.
Origin of precious
1250-1300
1250-1300; Middle English preciose (< Old French precios) < Latin pretiōsus costly, valuable, equivalent to preti(um) price, value + -ōsus -ous
Related forms
preciously, adverb
preciousness, noun
nonprecious, adjective
nonpreciously, adverb
nonpreciousness, noun
unprecious, adjective
unpreciously, adverb
unpreciousness, noun
Synonyms
1. See valuable. 3. darling, cherished.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for precious
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • The East has been known for ages as a "sink of the precious metals."

    The New World of Islam Lothrop Stoddard
  • More than one of these precious volumes were transcribed entirely by her own hand.

    Philothea Lydia Maria Child
  • You did not hear whether he had any precious stones in his possession?

    My Strangest Case Guy Boothby
  • We should regard and appreciate them as a precious gift of God.

  • It was filled to the brim with precious stones, most of them removed from their settings.

    The Golden Fleece Julian Hawthorne
British Dictionary definitions for precious

precious

/ˈprɛʃəs/
adjective
1.
beloved; dear; cherished
2.
very costly or valuable
3.
held in high esteem, esp in moral or spiritual matters
4.
very fastidious or affected, as in speech, manners, etc
5.
(informal) worthless: you and your precious ideas!
adverb
6.
(informal) (intensifier): there's precious little left
Derived Forms
preciously, adverb
preciousness, noun
Word Origin
C13: from Old French precios, from Latin pretiōsus valuable, from pretium price, value
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for precious
adj.

mid-13c., from Old French precios "precious, costly, honorable, of great worth" (11c., Modern French précieux), from Latin pretiosus "costly, valuable," from pretium "value, worth, price" (see price (n.)). Meaning "over-refined" in English first recorded late 14c. In Johnson's day, it also had a secondary inverted sense of "worthless." Related: Preciously; preciousness.

n.

"beloved or dear person or object," 1706, from precious (adj.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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