priceless

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English[edit]

Etymology[edit]

price +‎ -less [1]

Pronunciation[edit]

  • IPA(key): /ˈpɹaɪsləs/
  • (file)

Adjective[edit]

priceless (comparative more priceless, superlative most priceless)

  1. So precious as not to be sold at any price; invaluable. [1590s[1]]
    • 1594, William Shakespeare, Lucrece (First Quarto), London: [] Richard Field, for Iohn Harrison, [], OCLC 236076664:
      For he the night before, in Tarquin’s tent, / Unlock’d the treasure of his happy state; / What priceless wealth the heavens had him lent / In the possession of his beauteous mate;
    • 1933 January 9, George Orwell [pseudonym; Eric Arthur Blair], chapter XV, in Down and Out in Paris and London, London: Victor Gollancz [], OCLC 2603818, page 112:
      Mario told me of a hotel in which he had been, where a chambermaid stole a priceless diamond ring from an American lady. [] The chambermaid had a lover in the bakery, and he had baked the ring into a roll, where it lay unsuspected until the search was over.
  2. Treasured; held in high regard.
    • 1849 May – 1850 November, Charles Dickens, chapter 45, in The Personal History of David Copperfield, London: Bradbury & Evans, [], published 1850, OCLC 558196156:
      I do not hope that any love and duty I may render in return, will ever make me worthy of your priceless confidence []
    • 1950, Philip Larkin, letter to J. B. Sutton dated 18 June, 1950, in Anthony Thwaite (ed.), Selected Letters of Philip Larkin, 1940-1985, New York: Farrar, Straus, Giroux, 1993, p. 165,[1]
      If we part I shall be tormented by remorse at not having married. If we marry I shall spend my life mentally kicking myself for having so carelessly given up priceless liberty.
    • 2011 October 1, Saj Chowdhury, “Wolverhampton 1 - 2 Newcastle”, in BBC Sport[2]:
      Alan Pardew's current squad has been put together with a relatively low budget but the resolve and unity within the team is priceless.
  3. (informal, often ironic) Excellent, wonderful, fantastic.
    • 1926, Ernest Hemingway, chapter 3, in The Sun Also Rises[3], New York: Scribner, published 1954, page 22:
      “And have you had a lovely evening?” / “Oh, priceless,” I said.
    • 1993, “Heart-Shaped Box”, in In Utero, performed by Nirvana:
      Hey! Wait! I got a new complaint / Forever in debt to your priceless advice
  4. (informal) Ridiculous, absurd, rich.
    • 1946, Kenneth Fearing, The Big Clock, New York: Harcourt, Brace, “Earl Janoth II,”[4]
      “You son of a bitch,” she exploded. “You talk. You, of all people. You. That’s priceless.”
    • 1951, Hannah Arendt, chapter 4, in The Origins of Totalitarianism, New York: Harcourt Brace, OCLC 52814049, part 1: Antisemitism, page 110:
      Where the concrete approach of the realistic nationalists eventually led them is illustrated by the priceless story of how Charles Maurras had “the honor and pleasure,” after the defeat of France, of falling in during his flight to the south with a female astrologer who interpreted to him the political meaning of recent events and advised him to collaborate with the Nazis.
    • 1986, Edna O’Brien, The Country Girls Trilogy and Epilogue, New York: Farrar Straus Giroux, “The Lonely Girl,” p. 333[5]
      “Duty, har, har,” Simon laughed, as if some laughing machine had been wound up inside him. “Laura would love that. Jesus, that’s priceless; he’s good on propaganda. Duty! God, Laura will love that when she comes.”
  5. (informal) Very amusing, hilarious. [1907[1]]
    • 1936, Lloyd C. Douglas, White Banners, New York: Pocket Books, 1959, Chapter 1, p. 17,[6]
      Paul laughed heartily and said she was priceless, but Hannah remained so contritely straight-faced that his laughter sounded to himself as if it had just a trace of incipient madness in it, and he suddenly sobered, blinking rapidly.
    • 2011, Esi Edugyan, Half Blood Blues, London: Serpent’s Tail, “Berlin 1939,” Chapter 2, p. 142,[7]
      Hell, those jacks was laughing and laughing like to wet themselves. Even Ernst had a smile on his face, shaking his head like he ain’t believed what he just seen.
      ‘Aw, Sid,’ Chip gasped. ‘Holy hell, Sid, you priceless.’
  6. (obsolete) Of no value; worthless.
    • 1648, Robert Herrick, “Upon Silvia, a Mistresse” in Hesperides, London: John Williams and Francis Eglesfield, p. 20,[8]
      When some shall say, Faire once my Silvia was;
      Thou wilt complaine, False now’s thy Looking—
      Which renders that quite tarnisht, w[hi]ch was green; (glasse:
      And Priceless now, what Peerless once had been:
      Upon thy Forme more wrinkles yet will fall,
      And comming downe, shall make no noise at all.
    • 1905, Mrs. John Van Vorst & Marie Van Vorst, Mrs. Evremond, in Ainslee's Magazine, Vol XVI, September 1905, No. 2:
      "… he thought of his late friendship with anger and held it cheap, a priceless imitation for which perhaps he had given a pure jewel in stupid exchange."
  7. (uncommon) Without a price assigned.
    Synonym: unpriced
    • 2020, Timothy, Nick, chapter 5, in Remaking One Nation: The Future of Conservatism[9], Cambridge: Polity Press, →ISBN, page 120:
      DeepMind, the British company discussed in chapter 2, was sold to Google for £400 million in 2014 without even a golden share for government. It is now priceless, almost certainly not for sale at any price.

Derived terms[edit]

Translations[edit]

References[edit]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Douglas Harper (2001–2022), “priceless”, in Online Etymology Dictionary.

Anagrams[edit]