delicate

[ del-i-kit ]
/ ˈdɛl ɪ kɪt /

adjective

noun

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

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 delicateness

  • 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
  • Very nervous persons develop a delicateness and acuteness of smell which other persons do not even imagine.

  • And upon one of them she leaned, as if for delicateness and overmuch tenderness she were not able to bear up her own body.

British Dictionary definitions for delicateness

delicate

/ (ˈdɛlɪkɪt) /

adjective

noun

archaic a delicacy; dainty

Derived Forms

delicately, 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