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[deyn-tee] /ˈdeɪn ti/
adjective, daintier, daintiest.
of delicate beauty; exquisite:
a dainty lace handkerchief.
pleasing to the taste and, often, temptingly served or delicate; delicious:
dainty pastries.
of delicate discrimination or taste; particular; fastidious:
a dainty eater.
overly particular; finicky.
noun, plural dainties.
something delicious to the taste; a delicacy.
Origin of dainty
1175-1225; Middle English deinte worthiness, happiness, delicacy < Anglo-French (Old French deint(i)e) < Latin dignitāt- (stem of dignitās); see dignity
Related forms
daintily, adverb
daintiness, noun
overdaintily, adverb
overdaintiness, noun
overdainty, adjective
superdainty, adjective
undaintily, adverb
undaintiness, noun
undainty, adjective
1. fine. 2. tender, delectable. 4. overnice. 5. tidbit, sweetmeat.
Synonym Study
1. See delicate. 3. See particular. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for daintiness
Historical Examples
  • He noticed the daintiness of her profile, the placid sweetness of her face in repose.

    Spring Street James H. Richardson
  • He loved the grace of them, the daintiness of their dress, the softness of their voices.

    Robert Elsmere Mrs. Humphry Ward
  • She had given it the right touch of daintiness and refinement.

    Hester's Counterpart Jean K. Baird
  • Space, daintiness, simplicity—these were the first impressions.

    Flaming June Mrs. George de Horne Vaizey
  • The tiger-wolf has a certain amount of daintiness in its appetite when in a state of nature.

    Heads and Tales Various
  • In spite of her daintiness, she was one who, in time of stress, could be depended on.

    Masters of the Wheat-Lands

    Harold Bindloss
  • And no flower of any time can excel it in daintiness, purity, and sweetness.

    Amateur Gardencraft Eben E. Rexford
  • The daintiness and grace of elves and fairies should be indicated in the delivery.

    Children's Literature Charles Madison Curry
  • The daintiness of these combinations was past all description.

    The American Egypt Channing Arnold
  • That Werekiew, renowned in Rome for the daintiness of his dinners, died suddenly in 1866.

    Cosmopolis, Complete Paul Bourget
British Dictionary definitions for daintiness


adjective -tier, -tiest
delicate or elegant: a dainty teacup
pleasing to the taste; choice; delicious: a dainty morsel
refined, esp excessively genteel; fastidious
noun (pl) -ties
a choice piece of food, esp a small cake or sweet; delicacy
Derived Forms
daintily, adverb
daintiness, noun
Word Origin
C13: from Old French deintié, from Latin dignitāsdignity
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for daintiness



c.1300, "delightful, pleasing," from dainty (n.). Meaning evolved in Middle English to "choice, excellent" (late 14c.) to "delicately pretty." Related: Daintiness.



c.1300, "excellence, elegance; a luxury," from Old French deintie (12c.) "price, value," also "delicacy, pleasure," from Latin dignitatem (nominative dignitas) "greatness, rank, worthiness, worth, beauty," from dignus "worthy" (see dignity).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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