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See more synonyms for indelicate on Thesaurus.com
  1. offensive to a sense of generally accepted propriety, modesty, or decency; improper, unrefined, or coarse: indelicate language.
  2. not delicate; lacking delicacy; rough.
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Origin of indelicate

First recorded in 1735–45; in-3 + delicate
Related formsin·del·i·cate·ly, adverbin·del·i·cate·ness, noun


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Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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Examples from the Web for indelicate

Historical Examples

  • Dear me, ma'am, but when nobody will know it, how can it be indelicate?

    Tales And Novels, Volume 5 (of 10)

    Maria Edgeworth

  • Of course it would be indelicate, if not unfeeling, to ask her about it.

  • "You are indelicate," said she, and though she frowned her eyes laughed.


    Rafael Sabatini

  • I should never have suspected you of so indelicate an imagination.


    Rafael Sabatini

  • The remonstrant of 1800 said "indelicate," of 1850 "immodest," of 1900 "impractical."

British Dictionary definitions for indelicate


  1. coarse, crude, or rough
  2. offensive, embarrassing, or tasteless
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Derived Formsindelicacy or indelicateness, nounindelicately, adverb
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 indelicate


1742, "offensive to propriety," from in- (1) "not, opposite of" + delicate. Related: Indelicately.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper