adjective, dain·ti·er, dain·ti·est.

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 dain·ties.

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 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 for dainty

Synonym study

1. See delicate. 3. See particular.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for daintiness

Historical Examples of daintiness

  • 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.

  • 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.

British Dictionary definitions for daintiness


adjective -tier or -tiest

delicate or eleganta dainty teacup
pleasing to the taste; choice; deliciousa dainty morsel
refined, esp excessively genteel; fastidious

noun plural -ties

a choice piece of food, esp a small cake or sweet; delicacy
Derived Formsdaintily, adverbdaintiness, noun

Word Origin for dainty

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 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