Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Legal, Encyclopedia, Wikipedia.

precious few

 and precious little
very few; very little. (Few for people or things that can be counted, and little for amounts.) We get precious few tourists here in the winter. There's precious little food in the house and there is no money.
See also: few, precious

Time is money.

(My) time is valuable, so don't waste it. I can't afford to spend a lot of time standing here talking. Time is money, you know! People who keep saying time is money may be working too hard.
See also: money, time

precious few

Also, precious little. Very few, very little, as in There are precious few leaves left on the trees, or We have precious little fuel left. In these idioms precious serves as an intensive, a colloquial usage dating from the first half of the 1800s.
See also: few, precious

time is money

One's time is a valuable commodity, as in I can't stay home and wait any longer; time is money, you know. This proverbial term goes back to one first recorded in 1572, time is precious, in a discourse on usury.
See also: money, time

precious little


precious few

If you say that there is precious little of something, you mean that there is very little of it, and that it would be better if there were more. The banks have had precious little to celebrate recently. Note: Precious few is used before plural nouns with the same meaning. Precious few homebuyers will notice any reduction in their monthly repayments.
See also: little, precious

precious little (or few)

extremely little (or few).
See also: little, precious

time is money

time is a valuable resource, therefore it's better to do things as quickly as possible. proverb
The present form of the expression seems to originate in a speech made by Benjamin Franklin in 1748 , but the sentiment is much older. The saying ‘the most costly outlay is time’ is attributed to the 5th-century BC Athenian orator and politician Antiphon.
See also: money, time

precious ˈfew/ˈlittle

(informal) very few/little: There are precious few places round here where you can get good Indian food.
See also: few, little, precious

time is ˈmoney

(saying) time is valuable, and should not be wastedThis saying was first used by the American politician Benjamin Franklin in 1748.
See also: money, time
References in classic literature ?
She had always joyfully admitted Emma Jane into the precious partnership, but perhaps unconsciously to herself she had realized that Emma Jane had never held anything but a secondary place in Mr.
The postmaster was compelled to acknowledge that there could be no objection, provided nothing but a necessary line was added to the address, provided nobody touched the letter but himself, and provided the precious time of the post-office was not suffered to run to waste.
When he had brought the precious robes, the Crab put on the golden garment and then crept upon the golden cushion, and in this way the fisherman carried him to the castle, where the Crab presented the other garment to his bride.
Welcome, my son," he said; "that you are granted, gladly, and without one word of opposition, the most precious jewel in all Helium, yes, on all Barsoom, is sufficient earnest of my esteem.
Perhaps the bony hand of its former owner had been grasping the precious cup, and was drawn up along with it.
Being destitute of the precious metals, at that time the leading objects of American enterprise, they were long neglected by the parent country.
I took the precious case into my hands and looked in some perplexity from it to my illustrious client.
Devoid of parents, devoid of relations, devoid of flocks and herds, devoid of gold and silver and of precious stones.
Our dear Emperor has left Petersburg and it is thought intends to expose his precious person to the chances of war.
At first I found that by climbing high into the framework above me I could find more of the precious life-giving elements, and for a while these sustained me.
They were too well occupied in self-defense to attempt to halt him, nor could they have done so other than by the wasting of a precious bullet which might be needed the next instant to turn the charge of a savage foe.
His first thought was that this precious deposit enclosed some newly imported bulbs from Bengal or Ceylon; but he soon reflected that Cornelius de Witt was very little addicted to tulip-growing, and that he only occupied himself with the affairs of man, a pursuit by far less peaceful and agreeable than that of the florist.
No sooner said than done; but all his joy was turned to grief when he found that his neighbour had two rooms full of the precious metal.
Snip, evidently regarding it as a game got up for his special benefit, enjoyed the race immensely and scampered all over the house, shaking the precious parcel like a rat while his master ran and whistled, commanded and coaxed, in vain.
I had sat down here to die," quoth the palmer; "but for many years I have carried in my wallet these precious things which you see set forth now before me.