Definition of preciosity in English:



  • Overrefinement in art, music, or language, especially in the choice of words.

    • ‘They are related to similarly proportioned glassware made in the 1890s, but the delicate tints and precarious attenuation are markers of preciosity and refinement.’
    • ‘The wit, light approach and mastery of touch, scale and color balance the figurines’ rather foppish preciosity.’
    • ‘The bijou effect of the original could easily translate into unwitting preciosity, and one appreciates the translator's wariness of plangent excess.’
    • ‘This earlier reading had been grounded in a concern that the use of ideas ‘borrowed’ from other disciplines might make poetry ‘dependent on intellectual fashions and encourage preciosity.’’
    • ‘All of this has saddled art songs with a reputation for preciosity and snobbishness.’


Mid 19th century: suggested by French préciosité, a sense derived from Molière's Les Précieuses Ridicules (1659), a comedy in which ladies frequenting the literary salons of Paris were satirized.