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dainty

[deyn-tee]
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adjective, dain·ti·er, dain·ti·est.
  1. of delicate beauty; exquisite: a dainty lace handkerchief.
  2. pleasing to the taste and, often, temptingly served or delicate; delicious: dainty pastries.
  3. of delicate discrimination or taste; particular; fastidious: a dainty eater.
  4. overly particular; finicky.
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noun, plural dain·ties.
  1. something delicious to the taste; a delicacy.
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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 formsdain·ti·ly, adverbdain·ti·ness, nouno·ver·dain·ti·ly, adverbo·ver·dain·ti·ness, nouno·ver·dain·ty, adjectivesu·per·dain·ty, adjectiveun·dain·ti·ly, adverbun·dain·ti·ness, nounun·dain·ty, adjective

Synonyms

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Synonym study

1. See delicate. 3. See particular.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018


Examples from the Web for daintily

Historical Examples

  • He sliced it into bits, and she took them daintily from between his fingers.

    Way of the Lawless

    Max Brand

  • Galeotto ate enormously, Cavalcanti daintily, I but little, and Bianca nothing.

    The Strolling Saint

    Raphael Sabatini

  • Hose-pipes coil over the floors, and one must walk by them daintily.

  • As she moved away so lightly and so daintily Kelley stared in stupefaction.

  • Judith finished dabbling her fingers in the finger-bowl, and wiped them daintily.

    Miss Pat at School

    Pemberton Ginther


British Dictionary definitions for daintily

dainty

adjective -tier or -tiest
  1. delicate or eleganta dainty teacup
  2. pleasing to the taste; choice; deliciousa dainty morsel
  3. refined, esp excessively genteel; fastidious
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noun plural -ties
  1. a choice piece of food, esp a small cake or sweet; delicacy
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Derived Formsdaintily, adverbdaintiness, noun

Word Origin

C13: from Old French deintié, from Latin dignitās dignity
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 daintily

adv.

c.1300, "sumptuously;" late 14c., "elegantly," from dainty (adj.) + -ly (2).

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dainty

adj.

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

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dainty

n.

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).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper