One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A person, especially a woman, aspiring to or affecting a refined delicacy of language and taste; an over-refined or absurdly fastidious woman.
Over-refined; affectedly fastidious in taste and language.
Mid 17th century; earliest use found in Richard Flecknoe (c1605–?1677), poet and playwright. From French précieuse, † prétieuse refined woman, woman affecting refinement, use as noun of the feminine of précieux precious, popularized by Molière in Les précieuses ridicules, a comedy which satirizes the ladies frequenting the literary salons of Paris in the mid 17th cent.
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