Meaning of “precious” in the English Dictionary

"precious" in British English

See all translations


uk /ˈpreʃ.əs/ us /ˈpreʃ.əs/

precious adjective (VALUABLE)

B2 of great value because of being rare, expensive, or important:

a precious gift
a precious moment/memory
Clean water is a precious commodity in many parts of the world.
You're so precious to me.

More examples

precious adjective (NOT NATURAL)

mainly UK disapproving behaving in a very formal and unnatural way by giving too much attention to details that are not important and trying too hard to be perfect:

He's so precious about his work that he never gets anything done.
Don't you hate the precious way she speaks, pronouncing each single consonant so precisely.
noun [ U ] uk /ˈpreʃ.əs.nəs/ us /ˈpreʃ.əs.nəs/


uk /ˈpreʃ.əs/ us /ˈpreʃ.əs/ informal

(Definition of “precious” from the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

"precious" in American English

See all translations


us /ˈpreʃ·əs/

precious adjective (VALUABLE)

of very great value or worth:

precious memories
Children are our most precious resource.

Precious metals are gold, silver, and platinum.

A precious stone is a jewel:

Diamonds and rubies are precious stones.


us /ˈpreʃ·əs/ infml

precious adverb (VERY)


He earns precious little money.

(Definition of “precious” from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)