• synonyms


[prey-see-oo z; French prey-syœz]
noun, plural pré·cieus·es [prey-see-oo z-iz; French prey-syœz] /ˌpreɪ siˈʊz ɪz; French preɪˈsyœz/.
  1. one of the 17th-century literary women of France who affected an extreme care in the use of language.
  2. an affected or pretentious woman, especially one marked by preciosity in manner or speech.
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  1. (of a woman) marked by affectation or preciosity.
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Origin of précieuse

1720–30; < French; feminine of précieux; see -euse
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for precieuse

Historical Examples of precieuse

  • To be a precieuse was in itself an evidence of good conduct.

    The Women of the French Salons

    Amelia Gere Mason

  • We find here the code which ruled the Hotel de Rambouillet, and the very well-defined character of the precieuse.

  • There was Ninon; and there was Madame de Rambouillet; the one galante, the other precieuse.

Word Origin and History for precieuse


"pedantic woman, woman aiming at refined delicacy of language and taste" (1727), from French précieuse, noun use of fem. of précieux (see precious (adj.)); especially as lampooned in Molière's comedy "Les Précieuses ridicules" (1659).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper