precious

adjective
pre·​cious | \ˈpre-shəs \

Definition of precious 

(Entry 1 of 2)

1 : of great value or high price precious jewels

2 : highly esteemed or cherished a precious friend

3 : excessively refined : affected precious manners

4 : great, thoroughgoing a precious scoundrel

precious

adverb

Definition of precious (Entry 2 of 2)

: very, extremely has precious little to say

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Other Words from precious

Adjective

preciousness noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for precious

Synonyms: Adjective

adorable, darling, dear, disarming, endearing, lovable (also loveable), lovesome, sweet, winning, winsome

Antonyms: Adjective

abhorrent, abominable, detestable, hateful, loathsome, odious, unlovable

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Examples of precious in a Sentence

Adjective

That so many of China's cleverest and most creative men and women had to sell their books and their most precious carvings and family seals to keep themselves alive, while corpulent nationalists and their friends dined well in local banquet halls, gave them some right to schadenfreude. — Simon Winchester, The Man Who Loved China, 2008 Of course, the war pronounces on us all. Some precious glee we seek is absent, the season less substantial, less likeable. — Richard Ford, Wall Street Journal, 14-15 June 2008 The world is, as usual, a frightening place to enter for all save the precious few impaired by inherited security. — David Mamet, True and False, 1997 … and, though to him those precious moments at the end of each day had symbolized the realization of his every hope, to her they had meant not a goddamn thing. — Philip Roth, American Pastoral, 1997 diamonds and other precious stones We can save precious time by taking this shortcut. They were able to be together for only a few precious hours. the family's most precious moments

Adverb

She had precious little to say. There are precious few hours of sunlight left.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

The French presidential wine cellar holds 14,000 bottles regarded as so precious, few people are allowed to enter the room. Sylvie Corbet, Fox News, "Hidden underground world below French president put on view," 15 Sep. 2018 The artist also signals the darker aspect of Lacks’s story in a subtle way, omitting two of the buttons on her red dress to imply that something precious was stolen from her. Ryan P. Smith, Smithsonian, "Famed for “Immortal” Cells, Henrietta Lacks is Immortalized in Portraiture," 15 May 2018 There’s nothing more precious than our students,’’ said Tom Alf, a former Hamilton High School principal who now sits on the school board. Sue Kiesewetter, Cincinnati.com, "Hamilton Schools staff can be armed," 29 June 2018 Most male mammals carry precious cargo in an awfully precarious package. Katherine J. Wu, Smithsonian, "The Earliest Mammals Kept Their Cool With Descended Testicles," 28 June 2018 Everything is set to repeat the next morning, which makes elusive off-time all the more precious. S.pellegrino®, Bon Appetit, "A Beach Picnic, L.A. Chef–Style," 25 June 2018 Not Harden’s fault, but now that award seems as precious as a participant trophy. Scott Ostler, San Francisco Chronicle, "Finals answers and Golden statements," 11 June 2018 Or else that precious cargo will only end up in foreign hands. Jeff John Roberts, Fortune, "Crypto Firms Turn to "Airdrops" to Boost Blockchain Projects," 4 June 2018 If the Penguins’ roster is a box full to the brim with precious cargo, the Flyers’ still has too much plastic-bag stuffing and too many Styrofoam peanuts. Mike Sielski, Philly.com, "The Flyers' goalies aren't the answer for NHL Playoff woes, but they're not the real problem, either | Mike Sielski," 18 Apr. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'precious.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of precious

Adjective

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Adverb

1595, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for precious

Adjective

Middle English, from Anglo-French precios, from Latin pretiosus, from pretium price — more at price

Adverb

see precious entry 1

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Statistics for precious

Last Updated

13 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for precious

The first known use of precious was in the 13th century

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More Definitions for precious

precious

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of precious

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: rare and worth a lot of money

: very valuable or important : too valuable or important to be wasted or used carelessly

: greatly loved, valued, or important

precious

adverb

English Language Learners Definition of precious (Entry 2 of 2)

: very or extremely

precious

adjective
pre·​cious | \ˈpre-shəs \

Kids Definition of precious

1 : very valuable Diamonds and emeralds are precious stones.

2 : greatly loved or valued a precious friend precious memories

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More from Merriam-Webster on precious

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for precious

Spanish Central: Translation of precious

Nglish: Translation of precious for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of precious for Arabic Speakers

Comments on precious

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