Joel S. Berson Berson at ATT.NET
Mon Dec 4 14:44:39 UTC 2006

At 12/4/2006 08:18 AM, you wrote:
>On the NPR news this morning, somebody was being
>interviewed about how products (e.g. cell
>phones, computers) are nowadays sold with the
>assumption (the hope) that they won't last long
>and will need replacing.  The consumer
>acquiesces in the assumption; therefore, we
>aren't "as precious with" our gadgety
>possessions as we once were.  He used "precious"
>in that odd way 2 or 3 times--referring not to
>an object of great price but rather to the owner
>who might consider an object precious (though
>hyperbolically, even at that, it seems to me).
>It IS odd, isn't it?

Perhaps not that odd?  I would have understood it :-)  OED2:

3. Aiming at or affecting distinction or
choiceness in conduct, manners, language, etc.;
fastidious, ‘particular’; esp. in mod. use (after
F. précieux: cf. précieuse), affecting,
displaying, or using careful and fastidious
delicacy or refinement in language, workmanship,
etc.; often with an implication of being
over-nice or over-refined.  [Earliest citation Chaucher.]

That is, as "particular (careful) with", without the over-refined overtones.


The American Dialect Society -

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