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precious

[presh-uh s]
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adjective
  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.
  3. dear; beloved: a precious child.
  4. affectedly or excessively delicate, refined, or nice: precious manners.
  5. flagrant; gross: a precious fool.
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noun
  1. a dearly beloved person; darling.
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adverb
  1. extremely; very: She wastes precious little time.
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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

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1. See valuable. 3. darling, cherished.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for preciously

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • 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

precious

adjective
  1. beloved; dear; cherished
  2. very costly or valuable
  3. held in high esteem, esp in moral or spiritual matters
  4. very fastidious or affected, as in speech, manners, etc
  5. informal worthlessyou and your precious ideas!
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adverb
  1. informal (intensifier)there's precious little left
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Derived Formspreciously, adverbpreciousness, noun

Word Origin

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

precious

adj.

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.

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precious

n.

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

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper