/presh'ee os"i tee/, n., pl. preciosities.
fastidious or carefully affected refinement, as in language, style, or taste.
[1350-1400; ME preciousite < MF preciosite < L pretiositas. See PRECIOUS, -ITY]

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French  Préciosité,  

      style of thought and expression exhibiting delicacy of taste and sentiment, prevalent in the 17th-century French salons. Initially a reaction against the coarse behaviour and speech of the aristocracy, this spirit of refinement and bon ton was first instituted by the Marquise de Rambouillet in her salon and gradually extended into literature. The wit and elegance of the honnête homme (“cultivated man”) became a social ideal, which was expressed in the vivid, polished style of Vincent Voiture's poems and letters and in the eloquent prose works of Jean-Louis Guez de Balzac. This ideal revived the medieval tradition of courtly love, as expressed in the novels of Honoré d'Urfé. The success of his L'Astrée (1607–27; “The Astrea”), a vast pastoral set in the 5th century, was attributable as much to its charming analysis of the phases of love (i.e., chivalrous, mystical) and the corresponding adventures and complications as to its portraits of members of contemporary society.

      While the conceits and circumlocutions of the précieux, or “precious,” writers were greatly admired by many, others mocked them for their pedantry and affectation; Molière ridiculed them in his comedy Les Précieuses ridicules (1659). Preciosity in France was eventually carried to excess and led to exaggeration and affectation (particularly by the burlesque writers), as it did in other countries—as seen, for example, in the movements Gongorism in Spain, Marinism in Italy, and Euphuism in England.

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Universalium. 2010.

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  • Preciosity — Pre ci*os i*ty, n.; pl. { ties}. [F. pr[ e]ciosit[ e], OF. also precieuset[ e].] Fastidious refinement, esp. in language; specif., the affected purism and sententiousness characteristic of the French pr[ e]cieuses of the 17th century. He had the… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • preciosity — preciosity, preciousness Preciosity is now virtually restricted to the meaning ‘over refinement in art or language, especially in the choice of words’, leaving preciousness as the noun corresponding to the general meanings of precious …   Modern English usage

  • Preciosity — Pre ci*os i*ty, n. Preciousness; something precious. [Obs.] Sir T. Browne. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • preciosity — index bombast Burton s Legal Thesaurus. William C. Burton. 2006 …   Law dictionary

  • preciosity — [presh΄ē äs′ə tē, pres΄ēäs′ə tē] n. pl. preciosities [ME preciousite < MFr preciosité < L pretiositas < pretiosus: see PRECIOUS] great fastidiousness, overrefinement, or affectation, esp. in language …   English World dictionary

  • preciosity — noun (plural ties) Date: 1866 1. fastidious refinement 2. an instance of preciosity …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • preciosity — noun A state or condition of overemphasizing detail, especially of pronunciation when speaking. Syn: fastidiousness See Also: precise, precision …   Wiktionary

  • preciosity — Synonyms and related words: Gongorism, affectation, affectedness, artfulness, artifice, artificiality, ceremonialism, elegance, euphemism, euphuism, exquisiteness, formalism, formality, goody goodness, goody goodyism, hyperelegance, legalism,… …   Moby Thesaurus

  • preciosity — pre|ci|os|i|ty [ ,preʃi asəti ] noun uncount MAINLY LITERARY too much emphasis on style or detail in language or writing …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

  • preciosity — pre·ci·os·i·ty || ‚preʃɪ É‘sÉ™tɪ / É’s n. meticulousness, stringency; affectedness, overrefinement; excessive fastidiousness, extreme fussiness …   English contemporary dictionary

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