priceless

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English[edit]

Etymology[edit]

From price +‎ -less (suffix meaning ‘lacking, without’).[1]

Pronunciation[edit]

Adjective[edit]

priceless (comparative more priceless, superlative most priceless)

  1. So precious as not to be obtainable or sold at any price; invaluable. [from 1590s]
  2. (figuratively)
    1. Held in high regard; treasured.
    2. (informal) Absurd, ridiculous.
      Synonym: rich
      • 1946, Kenneth Fearing, “Earl Janoth II”, in The Big Clock, New York: Harcourt, Brace and Company, →OCLC, page 65:
        “You son of a bitch,” she exploded. “You talk. You, of all people. You. That’s priceless.”
      • 1951, Hannah Arendt, “The Dreyfus Affair”, in The Origins of Totalitarianism (A Harvest/HBJ Book), new edition, San Diego, Calif., New York, N.Y.: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, published 1973, →ISBN, 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.
      • 1962, Edna O’Brien, chapter 17, in The Lonely Girl, New York, N.Y.: Plume, Penguin Group, published December 2002, →ISBN, page 155:
        “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.”
    3. (informal) Very amusing, hilarious. [from 1907]
      • 1936, Lloyd C[assell] Douglas, chapter I, in White Banners, Boston, Mass., New York, N.Y.: Houghton Mifflin Company [], →OCLC, page 18:
        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, “Berlin 1939”, in Half Blood Blues, London: Serpent’s Tail, →ISBN, page 142:
        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.’
    4. (informal, often ironic) Excellent, fantastic, wonderful.
  3. (literally, uncommon) Without a price assigned; unpriced.
    • 2020, Nick Timothy, chapter 5, in Remaking One Nation: The Future of Conservatism, 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.
  4. (obsolete) Of no value; valueless, worthless.
    • 1648, Robert Herrick, “[Amatory Odes.] Upon Silvia. A Mistress.”, in Hesperides: Or, The Works both Humane & Divine [], London: [] John Williams, and Francis Eglesfield, and are to be sold by Tho[mas] Hunt, [], →OCLC; republished as Henry G. Clarke, editor, Hesperides, or Works both Human and Divine, volume I, London: H. G. Clarke and Co., [], 1844, →OCLC, page 146:
      When some shall say, fair once my Silvia was; / Thou wilt complain, false now’s thy looking-glass; / Which renders that quite tarnish’d which was green, / And priceless now, what peerless once had been. / Upon thy form more wrinkles yet will fall, / And coming down, shall make no noise at all.
      The spelling has been modernized.
    • 1905 September, Mrs. John Van Vorst [i.e. Bessie Van Vorst], Marie Van Vorst, “Mrs. Evremond”, in Ainslee’s: The Magazine that Entertains, volume XVI, number 2, New York, N.Y.: Ainslee Magazine Co., →OCLC, page 78, column 2:
      [H]e 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.

Derived terms[edit]

Translations[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ priceless, adj.”, in OED Online Paid subscription required, Oxford, Oxfordshire: Oxford University Press, December 2022; “priceless, adj.”, in Lexico, Dictionary.com; Oxford University Press, 2019–2022.

Further reading[edit]

Anagrams[edit]