- fineness of texture, quality, etc.; softness; daintiness: the delicacy of lace.
- something delightful or pleasing, especially a choice food considered with regard to its rarity, costliness, or the like: Caviar is a great delicacy.
- the quality of being easily broken or damaged; fragility.
- the quality of requiring or involving great care or tact: negotiations of great delicacy.
- extreme sensitivity; precision of action or operation; minute accuracy: the delicacy of a skillful surgeon's touch; a watch mechanism of unusual delicacy.
- fineness of perception or feeling; sensitiveness: the delicacy of the pianist's playing.
- fineness of feeling with regard to what is fitting, proper, etc.: Delicacy would not permit her to be rude.
- sensitivity with regard to the feelings of others: She criticized him with such delicacy that he was not offended.
- bodily weakness; liability to sickness; frailty.
- Linguistics. (especially in systemic linguistics) the degree of minuteness pursued at a given stage of analysis in specifying distinctions in linguistic description.
- Obsolete. sensuous indulgence; luxury.
Origin of delicacy
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
5. sensitivity, discrimination; prudence, consideration, circumspection.
1, 6. coarseness.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
Examples from the Web for delicacy
At the time, the island had not yet been named after the delicacy, and went by the decidedly less fantastical Twickenham Ait.The Isle Where the Rolling Stones Began
September 5, 2014
C, lastly, I just think [Perritaz] has a natural taste for purity, delicacy, and ethereal balance.Wine, Watch Out! These Ciders Are Just as Good
July 19, 2014
In their scenes, there is delicacy, there is love, and there is hope.‘Downton Abbey’ Season 3: Julian Fellowes, Hugh Bonneville, Michelle Dockery, and More
January 4, 2013
Whether they are official or not, Chick-fil-A restaurants are designed to represent the Southern delicacy.My Chick-Fil-A Miracle: Dining at Fried-Chicken Chain’s Original Restaurant
July 12, 2012
Fetching French actress Audrey Tautou is back in the romantic drama “Delicacy.”Audrey Tautou on ‘Amélie,’ Her New Film ‘Delicacy,’ & More
March 18, 2012
I have a feeling of delicacy about trying to see you again so soon.K
Mary Roberts Rinehart
It will sound strange that dry bread could possibly be a delicacy to any one.De Profundis
But this being a delicate affair, Comrade Ossipon behaved with delicacy.The Secret Agent
I'm an enemy to their delicacy, as I am sure it conduces to their misery.
Mr. Hervey could not be insensible to her distress or to her delicacy.
- fine or subtle quality, character, construction, etcdelicacy of craftsmanship
- fragile, soft, or graceful beauty
- something that is considered choice to eat, such as caviar
- fragile construction or constitution; frailty
- refinement of feeling, manner, or appreciationthe delicacy of the orchestra's playing
- fussy or squeamish refinement, esp in matters of taste, propriety, etc
- need for tactful or sensitive handling
- accuracy or sensitivity of response or operation, as of an instrument
- (in systemic grammar) the level of detail at which a linguistic description is made; the degree of fine distinction in a linguistic description
- obsolete gratification, luxury, or voluptuousness
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
Word Origin and History for delicacy
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper