noun, plural del·i·ca·cies.

Origin of delicacy

First recorded in 1325–75, delicacy is from the Middle English word delicasie. See delicate, -cy
Related formshy·per·del·i·ca·cy, noun

Synonyms for delicacy

Antonyms for delicacy

1, 6. coarseness. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for delicacy

Contemporary Examples of delicacy

Historical Examples of delicacy

  • I have a feeling of delicacy about trying to see you again so soon.


    Mary Roberts Rinehart

  • It will sound strange that dry bread could possibly be a delicacy to any one.

    De Profundis

    Oscar Wilde

  • But this being a delicate affair, Comrade Ossipon behaved with delicacy.

    The Secret Agent

    Joseph Conrad

  • 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.

British Dictionary definitions for delicacy


noun plural -cies

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

late 14c., "delightfulness; fastidiousness; quality of being addicted to sensuous pleasure," from delicate + -cy. Meaning "fineness, softness, tender loveliness" is from 1580s; that of "weakness of constitution" is from 1630s. Meaning "fine food, a dainty viand" is from early 15c.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper