- fine in texture, quality, construction, etc.: a delicate lace collar.
- fragile; easily damaged; frail: delicate porcelain; a delicate child.
- so fine as to be scarcely perceptible; subtle: a delicate flavor.
- soft or faint, as color: a delicate shade of pink.
- fine or precise in action or execution; capable of responding to the slightest influence: a delicate instrument.
- requiring great care, caution, or tact: a delicate international situation.
- distinguishing subtle differences: a delicate eye; a delicate sense of smell.
- exquisite or refined in perception or feeling; sensitive.
- regardful of what is becoming, proper, etc.: a delicate sense of propriety.
- mindful of or sensitive to the feelings of others: a delicate refusal.
- dainty or choice, as food: delicate tidbits.
- primly fastidious; squeamish: not a movie for the delicate viewer.
- Obsolete. sensuous; voluptuous.
- Archaic. a choice food; delicacy.
- Obsolete. a source of pleasure; luxury.
Origin of delicate
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for delicateness
Very nervous persons develop a delicateness and acuteness of smell which other persons do not even imagine.Criminal Psychology
The others had all been women—womanly women, full of the weakness, the delicateness rather, that distinguishes the feminine.The Grain Of Dust
David Graham Phillips
And upon one of them she leaned, as if for delicateness and overmuch tenderness she were not able to bear up her own body.
For a Kate of the Black Eyebrows in the plot makes many a mighty difference to the delicateness of a man's stomach.The Men of the Moss-Hags
S. R. Crockett
- exquisite, fine, or subtle in quality, character, construction, etc
- having a soft or fragile beauty
- (of colour, tone, taste, etc) pleasantly subtle, soft, or faint
- easily damaged or injured; lacking robustness, esp in health; fragile
- precise, skilled, or sensitive in action or operationa delicate mechanism
- requiring tact and diplomacy
- sensitive in feeling or manner; showing regard for the feelings of others
- excessively refined; squeamish
- archaic a delicacy; dainty
Word Origin and History for delicateness
late 14c., "self-indulgent, loving ease; delightful; sensitive, easily hurt; feeble," from Latin delicatus "alluring, delightful, dainty," also "addicted to pleasure, luxurious, effeminate;" of uncertain origin; related by folk etymology (and perhaps genuinely) to deliciae "a pet," and delicere "to allure, entice" (see delicious). Meaning "easily broken" is recorded from 1560s.