[presh-uh s]



a dearly beloved person; darling.


extremely; very: She wastes precious little time.

Origin of precious

1250–1300; Middle English preciose (< Old French precios) < Latin pretiōsus costly, valuable, equivalent to preti(um) price, value + -ōsus -ous
Related formspre·cious·ly, adverbpre·cious·ness, nounnon·pre·cious, adjectivenon·pre·cious·ly, adverbnon·pre·cious·ness, nounun·pre·cious, adjectiveun·pre·cious·ly, adverbun·pre·cious·ness, noun

Synonyms for precious

1. See valuable. 3. darling, cherished. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for preciously

Contemporary Examples of preciously

  • This means that any ceasefire also requires pressure on Israel—a commodity which tends to be in preciously short supply.

    The Daily Beast logo
    Living By The Sword

    Daniel Levy

    November 16, 2012

  • The image of the round little creature sitting at a desk churning out a literary confession is preciously hilarious.

Historical Examples of preciously

  • The individuals that may have had it kept it preciously to themselves.

    The Rough Road

    William John Locke

  • You will allow me to remark that you have a preciously short memory.

    The White Scalper

    Gustave Aimard

  • To a missionary "in science," the "precious volume" cannot be too preciously bound.

  • Yet he contains the Falstaffian elements and preciously preserves them.

  • For the others the figure was It, but for him it was preciously She.

    Fennel and Rue

    William Dean Howells

British Dictionary definitions for preciously



beloved; dear; cherished
very costly or valuable
held in high esteem, esp in moral or spiritual matters
very fastidious or affected, as in speech, manners, etc
informal worthlessyou and your precious ideas!


informal (intensifier)there's precious little left
Derived Formspreciously, adverbpreciousness, noun

Word Origin for precious

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

Word Origin and History for preciously



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.



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

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper