Also found in: Thesaurus, Idioms.


1. Of high cost or worth; valuable: precious jewels.
2. Highly esteemed; cherished: precious moments with the new baby.
3. Dear; beloved: a friend who is precious to me.
4. Affectedly dainty or overrefined: precious mannerisms.
5. Informal Thoroughgoing; unmitigated: a precious mess.
One who is dear or beloved; a darling.
Used as an intensive: "He had precious little right to complain" (James Agee).

[Middle English, from Old French precios, from Latin pretiōsus, from pretium, price; see per- in Indo-European roots.]

pre′cious·ly adv.
pre′cious·ness n.
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.preciousness - the quality possessed by something with a great price or value
expensiveness - the quality of being high-priced
2.preciousness - the positive quality of being precious and beyond valuepreciousness - the positive quality of being precious and beyond value
value - the quality (positive or negative) that renders something desirable or valuable; "the Shakespearean Shylock is of dubious value in the modern world"
gold - something likened to the metal in brightness or preciousness or superiority etc.; "the child was as good as gold"; "she has a heart of gold"
3.preciousness - the quality of being fastidious or excessively refined
affectedness - the quality of being false or artificial (as to impress others)
Based on WordNet 3.0, Farlex clipart collection. © 2003-2012 Princeton University, Farlex Inc.
References in classic literature ?
Of course the main preciousness of this piece lies in its color; it is that old sensuous, pervading, ramifying, interpolating, transboreal blue which is the despair of modern art.
Here palms, alpacas, and volcanoes; sun's disks and stars; ecliptics, horns-of-plenty, and rich banners waving, are in luxuriant profusion stamped; so that the precious gold seems almost to derive an added preciousness and enhancing glories, by passing through those fancy mints, so Spanishly poetic.
Mellow it was with preciousness of all sounding metals.
Often the soul is ripened into fuller goodness while age has spread an ugly film, so that mere glances can never divine the preciousness of the fruit.
He handled the sack lovingly, and with due appreciation of its preciousness carried it out to his sled.
It's experiences like this that make people stop in their tracks and forgo the frivolities of snapping selfies in order to appreciate the preciousness of their journey.
Others commented on the "preciousness" of the image, while many commented on the similarities between Saint and big sister North.
In his speech, Ong thanked all those who attended the Christmas high tea, saying that it reaffirms 'the preciousness of unity in diversity' under Malaysia Baharu.
"But the preciousness of a new life and family means so much more now I'm more mature and older.
These friendships are special, and only in reunions or chance encounters such as the one we had the night before, can their preciousness be appreciated.
There is no difference between the West and the East in emphasizing the preciousness and importance of family.