Brewer's: Precieuses Ridicules
(in Molière's comedy so called). Aminte and Polixéne, who assume the airs of the Hotel de Rambouillet, a coterie of savants of both sexes in the seventeenth century. The members of this society were termed précieuses- i.e. “persons of distinguished merit”- and the précieuses ridicules means a ridiculous apeing of their ways and manners.