1 adj If you say that something such as a resource is precious, you mean that it is valuable and should not be wasted or used badly.
After four months in foreign parts, every hour at home was precious..., Water is becoming an increasingly precious resource.
2 adj Precious objects and materials are worth a lot of money because they are rare.
...jewellery and precious objects belonging to her mother.
3 adj If something is precious to you, you regard it as important and do not want to lose it.
Her family's support is particularly precious to Josie...
4 adj People sometimes use precious to emphasize their dislike for things which other people think are important.
INFORMAL ADJ n (emphasis)
You don't care about anything but yourself and your precious face.
5 If you say that there is precious little of something, you are emphasizing that there is very little of it, and that it would be better if there were more. Precious few has a similar meaning.
precious little/precious few phrase
The banks have had precious little to celebrate recently..., Precious few homebuyers will notice any reduction in their monthly repayments.
precious metal ( precious metals plural ) A precious metal is a valuable metal such as gold or silver. n-var
precious stone ( precious stones plural ) A precious stone is a valuable stone, such as a diamond or a ruby, that is used for making jewellery. n-count
in AM, also use semiprecious
Semi-precious stones are stones such as turquoises and amethysts that are used in jewellery but are less valuable than precious stones such as diamonds and rubies. adj usu ADJ n
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"Collins Cobuild English Dictionary for Advanced Learners 4th edition published in 2003 © HarperCollins Publishers 1987, 1995, 2001, 2003 and Collins A-Z Thesaurus 1st edition first published in 1995 © HarperCollins Publishers 1995"