American English

Definition of precious adjective from the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary



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  1. 1rare and worth a lot of money a precious vase The necklace was set with precious jewels—diamonds, rubies, and emeralds. see also precious metal, precious stone Thesaurusvaluableprecious priceless irreplaceableThese words all describe something that is worth a lot of money or is very important to someone.valuable worth a lot of money:The thieves took three pieces of valuable jewelry.precious rare and worth a lot of money; loved or valued very much:a precious Chinese vase, valued at half a million dollars precious memories of our time togetherpriceless extremely valuable; loved or valued very much:a priceless collection of antiquesirreplaceable too valuable or special to be replacedPatterns valuable/precious/priceless/irreplaceable possessions valuable/precious/priceless antiques/jewels/jewelry
  2. 2valuable or important and not to be wasted Clean water is a precious commodity in that part of the world. You're wasting precious time!
  3. 3loved or valued very much synonym treasure precious memories/possessions
  4. 4(informal) very attractive and easy to feel love for Isn't their new baby precious?
  5. 5[only before noun] (informal) used to show you are angry that another person thinks something is very important I didn't touch your precious car!
  6. 6(disapproving) (especially of people and their behavior) very formal, exaggerated, and not natural in what you say and do synonym affected
  7. preciousness
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    noun [uncountable] the preciousness of an old friendship His writings reveal an unattractive preciousness of style.
See the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary entry: precious