from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • adj. Of high cost or worth; valuable.
  • adj. Highly esteemed; cherished.
  • adj. Dear; beloved.
  • adj. Affectedly dainty or overrefined: precious mannerisms.
  • adj. Informal Thoroughgoing; unmitigated: a precious mess.
  • n. One who is dear or beloved; a darling.
  • adv. Used as an intensive: "He had precious little right to complain” ( James Agee).

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. Of high value or worth, or seemingly regarded as such.
  • adj. Regarded with love or tenderness.
  • adj. Treated with too much reverence.
  • adj. Contrived to be cute or charming.
  • n. Someone (or something) who is loved; a darling.
  • adv. Used as an intensifier.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Of great price; costly.
  • adj. Of great value or worth; very valuable; highly esteemed; dear; beloved.
  • adj. Particular; fastidious; overnice; overrefined. Cf. Précieuse, Preciosity.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Of great price; costly; having a high money-value.
  • Of great worth; held in high esteem; intrinsically valuable.
  • Worthless; good-for-nothing.
  • Considerable; great.
  • Particular; scrupulous; fastidious; over-nice.
  • Synonyms and Costly, etc. See valuable.
  • Very; exceedingly; extremely.
  • Affectedly fastidious, especially in the use of words; finically refined in one's literary style or artistic taste.
  • Characterized by a strained or affected refinement of style, in literature or art; affectedly fine.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adv. extremely
  • adj. characterized by feeling or showing fond affection for
  • adj. held in great esteem for admirable qualities especially of an intrinsic nature
  • adj. of high worth or cost
  • adj. obviously contrived to charm


Middle English, from Old French precios, from Latin pretiōsus, from pretium, price; see per-5 in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Middle English precious, from Old French precios ("valuable, costly, precious, beloved, also affected, finical"), from Latin pretiosus ("of great value, costly, dear, precious"), from pretium ("value, price"); see price. (Wiktionary)



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