Definition of precious adjective from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary



    BrE BrE//ˈpreʃəs//
    ; NAmE NAmE//ˈpreʃəs//
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  1. 1rare and worth a lot of money a precious vase The crown was set with precious jewels—diamonds, rubies and emeralds. see also precious metal, precious stone Synonymsvaluableprecious priceless irreplaceableThese words all describe something that is worth a lot of money or very important to somebody.valuable worth a lot of money:The thieves took three pieces of valuable jewellery.precious rare and worth a lot of money; loved or valued very much:a precious Chinese vase, valued at half a million pounds 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/​jewellery
  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 treasured precious memories/possessions
  4. 4[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!
  5. 5(disapproving) (especially of people and their behaviour) very formal, exaggerated and not natural in what you say and do synonym affected
  6. Word OriginMiddle English: from Old French precios, from Latin pretiosus ‘of great value’, from pretium ‘price’.Extra examples You are infinitely precious to me. My family is the most precious thing I have in my life. The crown was set with precious stones —diamonds, rubies and emeralds. They found a precious Chinese vase, valued at half a million pounds. They managed to salvage a few precious possessions from the fire. precious metals
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: precious