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adjective, rac·i·er, rac·i·est.
  1. slightly improper or indelicate; suggestive; risqué.
  2. vigorous; lively; spirited.
  3. sprightly; piquant; pungent: a racy literary style.
  4. having an agreeably peculiar taste or flavor, as wine, fruit, etc.
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Origin of racy

First recorded in 1645–55; race2 + -y1
Related formsrac·i·ly, adverbrac·i·ness, noun


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

Related Words


Examples from the Web for raciness

Historical Examples

  • His very faults smack of the raciness of his good qualities.

    The Sketch Book of Geoffrey Crayon, Gent.

    Washington Irving

  • The life, the raciness, the vigor of an adventurer and a wanderer, glow in every page.

  • Its freshness, raciness, and eccentric whim no pen could describe.

    Old Familiar Faces

    Theodore Watts-Dunton

  • We admit the raciness—we are proud of it; but we stand for fair play too.

  • Raciness and spontaneity are words that have no meaning when applied to him.

British Dictionary definitions for raciness


adjective racier or raciest
  1. (of a person's manner, literary style, etc) having a distinctively lively and spirited quality; fresh
  2. having a characteristic or distinctive flavoura racy wine
  3. suggestive; slightly indecent; risquéa racy comedy
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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 raciness



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.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper