Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English homepage

Date: 1200-1300
Language: Old French
Origin: precios, from Latin pretiosus, from pretium; PRICE1

precious

1 adjective
     
pre‧cious1
1 something that is precious is valuable and important and should not be wasted or used without care
precious seconds/minutes/hours/time
We cannot afford to waste precious time.
planes delivering precious supplies of medicine and food
2 rare and worth a lot of money
precious gem/stone/jewel
a statue covered with precious jewels
3 precious memories or possessions are important to you because they remind you of people you like or events in your life
precious to
The doll is cracked and worn, but it's precious to me because it was my mother's.
4 [only before noun] spoken used to show that you are annoyed that someone seems to care too much about something:
I never touched your precious car!
5 spoken used to speak to someone you love, especially a baby or small child:
Come sit by me, precious.
6 American English spoken used in order to describe someone or something that is small and pretty [= cute]:
The kids gave me that ornament. Isn't it precious?
7 formal too concerned about style or detail in your writing or speech, so that it does not seem natural:
His early work is rather precious and juvenile.
preciously adverb
preciousness noun [uncountable]

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