[ presh-uhs ]
See synonyms for: preciouspreciouses on

  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.

  1. dear; beloved: a precious child.

  2. affectedly or excessively delicate, refined, or nice: precious manners.

  3. flagrant; gross: a precious fool.

  1. a dearly beloved person; darling.

  1. extremely; very: She wastes precious little time.

Origin of precious

First recorded in 1250–1300; Middle English preciose (from Old French precios), from Latin pretiōsus “costly, valuable,” equivalent to preti(um) “price, value, worth” (see price) + -ōsus-ous

synonym study For precious

1. See valuable.

Other words for precious

Other words from precious

  • pre·cious·ly, adverb
  • pre·cious·ness, noun
  • non·pre·cious, adjective
  • non·pre·cious·ly, adverb
  • non·pre·cious·ness, noun
  • un·pre·cious, adjective
  • un·pre·cious·ly, adverb
  • un·pre·cious·ness, noun

Words Nearby precious Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use precious in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for precious


/ (ˈprɛʃəs) /

  1. beloved; dear; cherished

  2. very costly or valuable

  1. held in high esteem, esp in moral or spiritual matters

  2. very fastidious or affected, as in speech, manners, etc

  3. informal worthless: you and your precious ideas!

  1. informal (intensifier): there's precious little left

Origin of precious

C13: from Old French precios, from Latin pretiōsus valuable, from pretium price, value

Derived forms of precious

  • preciously, adverb
  • preciousness, noun

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