adjective, rac·i·er, rac·i·est.

slightly improper or indelicate; suggestive; risqué.
vigorous; lively; spirited.
sprightly; piquant; pungent: a racy literary style.
having an agreeably peculiar taste or flavor, as wine, fruit, etc.

Nearby words

  1. racoon,
  2. racq,
  3. racquet,
  4. racquetball,
  5. racquets,
  6. rad,
  7. rad 1,
  8. rad-lib,
  9. rad.,
  10. rad/s

Origin of racy

First recorded in 1645–55; race2 + -y1

2. slow.

Related formsrac·i·ly, adverbrac·i·ness, noun

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

Examples from the Web for racily

  • Without dignity we may write clearly, or nervously, or racily, but we have not attained to a style.

  • As for himself, he was inclined to be taciturn, being little versed in the matters on which the rest discoursed so racily.

    Cleo The Magnificent|Louis Zangwill
  • It is Elizabethan, yet thoroughly modern; it is racily Irish, yet universal English.

    The Critical Game|John Albert Macy

British Dictionary definitions for racily


adjective racier or raciest

(of a person's manner, literary style, etc) having a distinctively lively and spirited quality; fresh
having a characteristic or distinctive flavoura racy wine
suggestive; slightly indecent; risquéa racy comedy
Derived Formsracily, adverbraciness, noun

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 racily



1650s, "having a characteristic taste" (of wines, fruits, etc.), from race (n.2) in its older sense of "flavor" or in the sense "class of wines" + -y (2); meaning "having a quality of vigor" (1660s) led to that of "improper, risqué," first recorded 1901, probably reinforced by phrase racy of the soil "earthy" (1870). Related: Racily; raciness.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper