[ik-skwiz-it, ek-skwi-zit]
See more synonyms for exquisite on Thesaurus.com
  1. of special beauty or charm, or rare and appealing excellence, as a face, a flower, coloring, music, or poetry.
  2. extraordinarily fine or admirable; consummate: exquisite weather.
  3. intense; acute, or keen, as pleasure or pain.
  4. of rare excellence of production or execution, as works of art or workmanship: the exquisite statues of the Renaissance.
  5. keenly or delicately sensitive or responsive: an exquisite ear for music; an exquisite sensibility.
  6. of particular refinement or elegance, as taste, manners, etc., or persons.
  7. carefully sought out, chosen, ascertained, devised, etc.
  1. Archaic. a person, especially a man, who is excessively concerned about clothes, grooming, etc.; dandy; coxcomb.

Origin of exquisite

1400–50; late Middle English < Latin exquīsītus meticulous, chosen with care, originally past participle of exquīrere to ask about, examine, equivalent to ex- ex-1 + -quīrere, combining form of quaerere to seek
Related formsex·quis·ite·ly, adverbex·quis·ite·ness, nouno·ver·ex·quis·ite, adjectivesu·per·ex·qui·site, adjectivesu·per·ex·qui·site·ly, adverbsu·per·ex·qui·site·ness, noun

Synonyms for exquisite

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Synonym study

1. See delicate. 2. See fine1

Antonyms for exquisite

1. gross. 2. ordinary. 3. dull.

Pronunciation note

The pronunciation of exquisite has undergone a rapid change from [ek-skwi-zit] /ˈɛk skwɪ zɪt/ to [ik-skwiz-it] /ɪkˈskwɪz ɪt/, with stress shifting to the second syllable. The newer pronunciation is still criticized by some, but is now more common in both the U.S. and England, and many younger educated speakers are not even aware of the older one. See harass.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for exquisite

Contemporary Examples of exquisite

Historical Examples of exquisite

  • Most exquisite of sonatas would not to them make up for a game of billiards!

    Weighed and Wanting

    George MacDonald

  • His miracles seem to me to be as exquisite as the coming of spring, and quite as natural.

    De Profundis

    Oscar Wilde

  • The exquisite vision that came from the Invisible had returned to the Invisible.

    The Dream

    Emile Zola

  • All the world was coming to the exquisite bloom of a half-tropical country.

    Her Father's Daughter

    Gene Stratton-Porter

  • Could he tell her, after all that, what a precious bore her exquisite Mabel was to him?

British Dictionary definitions for exquisite


  1. possessing qualities of unusual delicacy and fine craftsmanshipjewels in an exquisite setting
  2. extremely beautiful and pleasingan exquisite face
  3. outstanding or excellentan exquisite victory
  4. sensitive; discriminatingexquisite taste
  5. fastidious and refined
  6. intense or sharp in feelingexquisite pleasure; exquisite pain
  1. obsolete a dandy
Derived Formsexquisitely, adverbexquisiteness, noun

Word Origin for exquisite

C15: from Latin exquīsītus excellent, from exquīrere to search out, from quaerere to seek
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 exquisite

early 15c., "carefully selected," from Latin exquisitus "carefully sought out," thus, "choice," from past participle of exquirere "search out thoroughly," from ex- "out" (see ex-) + quaerere "to seek" (see query (v.)).

Of any thing (good or bad, torture as well as art) brought to a highly wrought condition, sometimes shading into disapproval. A vogue word 15c.-18c., given wide extensions of meaning, none of which survives. The main modern sense of "of consummate and delightful excellence" is first attested 1579, in Lyly's "Euphues." Related: Exquisitely; exquisiteness. The noun meaning "a dandy, fop" is from 1819.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

exquisite in Medicine


[ĕkskwĭ-zĭt, ĭk-skwĭzĭt]
  1. Extremely intense, keen, or sharp. Used of pain or tenderness.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.