delicate

[ del-i-kit ]
/ ˈdɛl ɪ kɪt /

adjective

noun

Archaic. a choice food; delicacy.
Obsolete. a source of pleasure; luxury.

Nearby words

  1. delibes,
  2. delibes, léo,
  3. delibrate,
  4. delicacies,
  5. delicacy,
  6. delicately,
  7. delicatessen,
  8. delicia,
  9. delicious,
  10. deliciously

Origin of delicate

1325–75; Middle English delicat < Latin dēlicātus delightful, dainty; akin to delicious

Related forms

Synonym study

1. Delicate, dainty, exquisite imply beauty such as belongs to rich surroundings or which needs careful treatment. Delicate, used of an object, suggests fragility, small size, and often very fine workmanship: a delicate piece of carving. Dainty, in concrete references, suggests a smallness, gracefulness, and beauty that forbid rough handling: a dainty handkerchief; of persons, it refers to fastidious sensibilities: dainty in eating habits. Exquisite suggests an outstanding beauty and elegance, or a discriminating sensitivity and ability to perceive fine distinctions: an exquisite sense of humor.

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for delicate


British Dictionary definitions for delicate

delicate

/ (ˈdɛlɪkɪt) /

adjective

noun

archaic a delicacy; dainty
Derived Formsdelicately, adverbdelicateness, noun

Word Origin for delicate

C14: from Latin dēlicātus affording pleasure, from dēliciae (pl) delight, pleasure; see delicious

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 delicate

delicate

adj.

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.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper