Cambridge Dictionaries online Cambridge Dictionaries online

The most popular online dictionary and thesaurus for learners of English

English definition of “precious”

precious

adjective uk   /ˈpreʃ.əs/ us  

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.

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.

precious adjective (SHOWING DISLIKE)

[before noun] informal used to express dislike and/or anger: You and your precious car - it's all you're interested in!
preciousness
noun [U] uk   /-nəs/ us  

precious

adverb uk   /ˈpreʃ.əs/ informal us  
very: A lot of people will start, but precious few will finish. Be careful - you'll be precious little help if you come back injured.
(Definition of precious from the Cambridge Advanced Learners Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)
What is the pronunciation of precious?
Add Cambridge dictionaries to your browser to your website

Definitions of “precious” in other dictionaries

Word of the Day

hello stranger

said to a person that you know but have not seen for a long time

Word of the Day

Come on – you can do it! Phrasal verbs with ‘come’.

by Liz Walter​,
November 19, 2014
As part of an occasional series on the tricky subject of phrasal verbs, this blog looks at ones formed with the verb ‘come’. If you are reading this blog, I’m sure you already know come from, as it is one of the first things you learn in class: I come from Scotland/Spain.

Read More 

silver splicer noun

November 17, 2014
informal a person who marries in later life Newly retired and now newlywed – rise of the ‘silver splicers’ Reaching pension age becomes a trigger to tie the knot as baby-boomers begin to redefine retirement

Read More