The Meaning of Precious: What It Is and How To Use It

Do you know the definition of precious? This article will provide you with all of the information you need on the word precious, including its definition, etymology, usage, example sentences, and more!

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What does the word precious mean?

According to Collins English Dictionary and the American Heritage Unabridged Dictionary of the English Language, the word precious is an adjective that means valuable and important. Precious can also be used to mean cute or to refer to something one has fond affection for. The word precious is two syllables – pre-cious, and the pronunciation of precious is  ˈprɛʃəs. The suffixes ness and ly can be added to the end of precious to make preciously (adv.) and preciousness (n.)

Many different things can be precious, such as precious memories, a precious jewel or precious stones like diamonds, sapphire, emerald, rubies, or other such precious jewels and gem, a precious fool, precious rights, a precious resource, a precious treasured heirloom, a precious values friend or cherished friend, cute mannerisms, a precious performance, a precious asset, and other things made of great material, having monetary value, or much reverence and bring helf in high esteem. 

Many different languages also contain words that mean precious. You may notice that some of these translations of precious look and sound similar to the word precious. These are called cognates, which are words and phrases that look, sound, and eman something slimalir while they are words of different languages. These are often formed when two words have the same root or language of origin. This list of translations of the word precious is provided by Word Sense.

  •  Swedish: dyrbar‎
  •  Bulgarian: скъпоце́нен‎, це́нен‎, скъп‎
  •  German: kostbar‎, wertvoll‎
  •  Latin: pretiōsus‎
  •  Belarusian: кашто́ўны‎, дарагі́‎
  •  Scottish Gaelic: prìseil‎, luachmhor‎
  •  Khmer: ដ៏មានតម្លៃ‎ (dɑɑ mien tɑmlay)
  •  Bokmål: dyrebar‎
  •  Burmese: အဖိုးတန်‎
  •  Indonesian: berharga‎
  •  Romanian: prețios‎
  •  Czech: drahocenný‎, vzácný‎, drahý‎
  •  Portuguese: precioso‎
  •  Greek: πολύτιμος‎
  •  Roman: dragocen‎, drag‎
  •  Slovak: vzácny‎, drahý‎
  •  Japanese: 大切‎
  •  Russian: драгоце́нный‎, це́нный‎, дорого́й‎
  •  Lithuanian: brangus‎
  •  French: précieux‎
  •  Maltese: prezzjuż‎
  •  Armenian: թանկարժեք‎
  •  Spanish: precioso‎
  •  Hebrew: יָקָר‎
  •  Uzbek: qimmatbaho‎, qimmat‎
  •  Persian: گرانبها‎ (garânbahâ)
  •  Georgian: ძვირფასი‎
  •  Polish: cenny‎, drogocenny‎, drogi‎
  •  Hawaiian: makamae‎, hiwahiwa‎
  •  Turkmen: gymmatbaha‎
  •  Macedonian: скапоцен‎, скап‎
  •  Tajik: гаронбаҳо‎, қиматбаҳо‎
  •  Mongolian: үнэгэн‎
  •  Asturian: preciosu‎
  •  Cyrillic: драгоцен‎, драг‎
  •  Albanian: i çmuar‎
  •  Slovene: dragocen‎
  •  Ukrainian: дорогоці́нний‎, кошто́вний‎, дороги́й‎
  •  Irish: luachmhar‎, lómhar‎, maoineach‎
  •  Danish: dyrebar‎
  •  Mandarin: 寶貴‎, 宝贵‎ (bǎoguì)
  •  Maori: marihi‎
  •  Dutch: kostbaar‎,waardevol‎
  •  Kyrgyz: кымбаттуу‎, асыл‎
  •  Estonian: väärtuslik‎
  •  Old Provençal: precios‎
  •  Vietnamese: quý‎, quý báu‎
  •  Hungarian: értékes‎, drága‎, becses‎
  •  Occitan: preciós‎
  •  Marathi: मूल्यवान‎
  •  Azeri: qiymətli‎
  •  Catalan: preciós‎
  •  Thai: มีค่า‎ (mee kâa), มีประโยชน์‎ (mee bprà-yòht)
  •  Latvian: dārgs‎
  •  Finnish: kallisarvoinen‎
  •  Turkish: değerli‎, kıymetli‎
  •  Telugu: అమూల్యమైన‎
  •  Korean: 귀중한‎
  •  Icelandic: dýrmætur‎
  •  Galician: precioso‎
  •  Italian: prezioso‎
  •  Arabic: ثَمِين‎
  •  Hindi: क़ीमती‎, प्यारा‎
  •  Kazakh: асыл‎, гауһар‎
  •  Cherokee: ᎦᎸᏉᏗ‎

What are synonyms and antonyms of precious?

There are many different words that a person can use in place of the word precious. These words with the same definition as the word precious are called synonyms. Learning synonyms is a great way to expand your vocabulary, as well as to avoid repeating yourself in spoken and written English. This list of synonyms of precious is from Power Thesaurus

  •  esteemed
  •  inestimable
  •  rich
  •  wanted
  •  pricey
  •  chichi
  •  fine
  •  artificial
  •  loved
  •  pet
  •  valued
  •  cute
  •  favourite
  •  valuable
  •  preciously
  •  invaluable
  •  pretentious
  •  prized
  •  adored
  •  cutesy
  •  choice
  •  treasure
  •  priceless
  •  sweet
  •  beloved
  •  love
  •  venerated
  •  honey
  •  baby
  •  revered
  •  beautiful
  •  sweetie
  •  sugar
  •  dear
  •  sweetheart
  •  overrefined
  •  darling
  •  treasured
  •  attractive
  •  expensive
  •  admired
  •  high-priced
  •  beyond price
  •  dearest
  •  favorite
  •  cherished
  •  idolized
  •  costly
  •  affected

There are also numerous different words with the opposite meaning as precious. These are called antonyms, which are another great way to expand your English language vocabulary. These antonyms for precious are also provided by Power Thesaurus

  •  el cheapo
  •  free-of-charge
  •  disfavored
  •  vile
  •  foul
  •  abhorred
  •  contemptible
  •  affordable
  •  unpleasant
  •  repulsive
  •  of no worth
  •  useless
  •  low class
  •  keenly priced
  •  lousy
  •  horrible
  •  awful
  •  reasonably priced
  •  valueless
  •  outcast
  •  impaired
  •  disgusting
  •  hated
  •  nasty
  •  not good
  •  moderately priced
  •  inferior
  •  worthless
  •  trashy
  •  defective
  •  of no value
  •  unworthy
  •  obnoxious
  •  cheap and nasty
  •  about as useful as a chocolate teapot
  •  dirt cheap
  •  artless
  •  appalling
  •  going for a song
  •  distasteful
  •  marked down
  •  unbeloved
  •  discounted
  •  despised
  •  marginalized
  •  dreadful
  •  reasonable
  •  cheap and cheerful
  •  cheap
  •  inexpensive

What is the origin of the word precious?

According to Etymonline, the word precious has been used since the c13 Middle English preciose and comes from the Old French precios which is now the  Modern French précieux. This comes from the Latin pretiosus/Latin pretiōsus valuable, from the Latin pretium price, of Proto-Indo-European roots.

How can the word precious be used in a sentence?

The word precious can be used in many different ways in natural sounding English. Using words in a sentence is a great way to memorize their definitions. You can also try making flashcards or a quiz to test your knowledge of different words’ definitions. Try using this word of the day in a sentence today! Below are several examples of the word precious being used in a sentence to help get your started. 

He was heartbroken when his previous, valued friend left for Princeton University.

The fellow artists were jealous of the high price that the precious ceramic work went for.

There was little left of her previous photographs after the robbery by the other females in her dormitory. 

It was his intrinsic nature to protect his previous daughter with great esteem and tenderness. These admirable qualities and behavior made him have high value to his wife. 

Um, don’t you think you’re being a bit precious when it comes to spiritual matters? To each their own, you don’t need to quote the Bible when you think someone does something bad. 

He believed his precious ideas had high worth, but they were dated and boring. 

Overall, the word precious means high valued. This word is of Latin origin.


  1. precious: meaning, origin, translation | Word Sense 
  2. Precious synonyms – 1 499 Words and Phrases for Precious | Power Thesaurus
  3. Precious antonyms – 466 Opposites of Precious | Power Thesaurus 
  4. Precious definition and meaning | Collins English Dictionary 
  5. precious | Origin and meaning of precious | Online Etymology Dictionary