From Longman Dictionary of Contemporary Englishpreciouspre‧cious1 /ˈpreʃəs/ ●●○ adjective 1 EMOTIONALsomething that is precious is valuable and important and should not be wasted or used without careprecious seconds/minutes/hours/time We cannot afford to waste precious time. planes delivering precious supplies of medicine and food our planet’s precious resources2 VALUErare and worth a lot of moneyprecious gem/stone/jewel a statue covered with precious jewels3 IMPORTANTprecious memories or possessions are important to you because they remind you of people you like or events in your lifeprecious to The doll is cracked and worn, but it’s precious to me because it was my mother’s.► see thesaurus at valuable4 [only before noun] spokenANNOY used to show that you are annoyed that someone seems to care too much about something I never touched your precious car!5 spoken used to speak to someone you love, especially a baby or small child Come sit by me, precious. 6 American English spoken used in order to describe someone or something that is small and pretty SYN cute The kids gave me that ornament. Isn’t it precious?7 NATURAL formal too concerned about style or detail in your writing or speech, so that it does not seem natural His early work is rather precious and juvenile. —preciously adverb —preciousness noun [uncountable]COLLOCATIONSnounstimeMy time is precious, and I don't want to waste it.seconds/moments/minutes/hoursWe knew we only had a few more precious hours together.resourcesThe government has squandered the country’s precious resources.commodityWater is a precious commodity.assetThe organization’s most precious asset is its staff.giftHer illness made her appreciate more the precious gift of life.
Examples from the Corpusprecious• Make sure you keep a careful eye on it - it's a gem and just as precious!• Back at the granary he persuaded the farm-worker to exchange it for the precious antique.• Hello, precious, are you having fun?• You could help us out, in fact, if Maria doesn't mind handing her precious camera over.• But she was not about to reveal such precious dreams to him.• The novel may be too precious for some, but it's good summer reading.• She felt a stab of resentment for the Church's claims on her precious holiday.• What a precious little baby girl!• The robe was encrusted with precious metals and stones.• That bear is Ellie's most precious possession.• But twice a year, at the church, the group sells rosaries made with precious stones to raise funds.• For this reason temples and cathedrals frequently maintained artificers schooled in the use of precious substances.• Apparently I'd ruined her precious towel.• Antelope herds in the Rocky Mountains have lost precious winter pasture.precious resources• They began to suspect that time would be one of their most precious resources.• Smart governments know that by allowing trade, nations gently coerce their citizens to shift precious resources from low-productivity to high-productivity industries.• On this basis, precious resources have been allocated to mass literacy campaigns all over the Third World.precious gem/stone/jewel• A whole roomful of precious stones.• Dry camel droppings tied in bits of plastic bag were gold and precious gems.• He showed her the fruits he had gathered in the garden, and they had turned to precious stones.• The dome was entire gold, standing upon three hundred pillars of precious stones.• Her designs are classical and very delicate, mainly in 18-carat gold jewellery and set with precious stones and pearls.• Metaphorical bloodstains drench these precious stones, however, which makes a visit to the exhibition both eerie and wearisome.• By comparison with gold, jade or precious stones pearls are much less durable.• On many important icons, precious gems relating to the colour and function of each chakra are used instead of metal.precious to• These schools are too precious to the community to close them.preciousprecious2 adverb informal → precious little/few
Examples from the Corpusprecious• When the doors were opened tothe public, precious few came.• From which it follows that many will choose precious little attachment.• The rest of us have precious little influence over the global economy, though our lives are deeply affected by it.• The other difficulty is I have precious little instinct for business ventures.• While the photographs are excellent and plentiful. there is precious little video.• Food shopping takes time, a commodity of which most of us have precious little.Origin precious1 (1200-1300) Old French precios, from Latin pretiosus, from pretium; → PRICE1