from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. The condition of being precious; costliness

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. The quality or state of being precious; costliness; dearness.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. The character of being precious; valuableness; worth; costliness.
  • n. Anything of great price or value; a valuable article, object, or part of a thing.
  • n. Fastidiousness; excessive refinement; scrupulous attention to detail, particularly in art.

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

  • n. the positive quality of being precious and beyond value
  • n. the quality possessed by something with a great price or value
  • n. the quality of being fastidious or excessively refined


Sorry, no etymologies found.


  • It seems at least as likely, though, that she has succumbed to the baleful influence of Sarah Ruhl, whose stomach-turning brand of preciousness is the latest theatrical fashion and whose sticky stylistic fingerprints are all over The Language Archive.

    Too Cute for Words

  • Portia's post re Helene Hanff (another former favorite of mine with no love lost, just forgotten) reminds me of an aren't-kids-cute shorthand we often see in movies, sometimes books, where the kid's preciousness is proclaimed by his or her use of mathematically nonsensical numbers, like, "eleventy gazillion million TWILLION!"

    Keeping the unicorns at bay

  • If her reserve toward men protected her from slander, her apparent suppression of sexuality was also in keeping with the idea of "preciousness" then spreading through the salons of the capital.

    Louis XIV's Secret Wife

  • It was as if every line was placed on a scale, and carefully weighed for significance with the kind of preciousness that would upset even the greatest Shakespearean tragedy.

    Jayne Lyn Stahl: Casino Jack

  • I could have gone on at length about that, but instead I felt a need to try and tackle what I worried was a romanticizing of the mystique of the poem, a kind of preciousness about the poem that made the “harder” poems seem more valuable.

    The Hard Poem: A Sort of Fiction : Kwame Dawes : Harriet the Blog : The Poetry Foundation

  • Tim: I imagine Singer's reduction of her "preciousness" to that is predicated on her permanently and severely reduced mental faculties.

    Questioning "dignity."

  • Leaning together and destroying a principle preciousness which is not mangled, this is so loaned that there is no habit, not at all and yet there is the late way, there is an instance of more.

    Matisse Picasso and Gertrude Stein With Two Shorter Stories

  • The origins of Euphuism and of that later form of preciousness which is sometimes called Gongorism and sometimes Marinism have been much discussed, but the last word has certainly not been said on them.

    A History of Elizabethan Literature

  • Both in prose and verse we have one type which has carried subtle finish and a purism studied almost to the point of "preciousness," alongside of another type which crowds its effects without regard to tone and harmony, and by its side a third type which trots along breathless in its shirt-sleeves.

    Studies in Early Victorian Literature

  • Dresden-Shepherdess kind of writer, good at "preciousness" and patch-and-powder manners, but nothing more.

    Joseph Andrews Vol 1


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