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noun dain·ty \ˈdān-tē\

Definition of dainty

plural dain·ties

  1. 1 a :  something delicious to the taste b :  something choice or pleasing

  2. 2 obsolete :  fastidiousness

Examples of dainty

  1. <the widow plied her suitor with dainties and endless glasses of sherry>

Origin of dainty

Middle English deinte high esteem, delight, from Anglo-French deinté, from Latin dignitat-, dignitas dignity, worth

First Known Use: 14th century



adjective dain·ty

Simple Definition of dainty

  • : small and pretty

  • : done with small and careful movements

  • of food : attractive and served in small amounts

Full Definition of dainty


  1. 1 a :  tasting good :  tasty b :  attractively prepared and served

  2. 2 :  marked by delicate or diminutive beauty, form, or grace <dainty teacups>

  3. 3 obsolete :  chary, reluctant

  4. 4 a :  marked by fastidious discrimination or finicky taste b :  showing avoidance of anything rough

dain·ti·ly play \ˈdān-tə-lē\ adverb
dain·ti·ness play \ˈdān-tē-nəs\ noun

Examples of dainty

  1. Her hair was decorated with dainty pink flowers.

  2. the girl's dainty little hands

  3. The dancers' dainty steps were followed by a series of leaps.

  4. She took a dainty sip of tea from her teacup.

  5. They served dainty sandwiches on silver trays.

  6. The food was served in dainty portions.

14th Century

First Known Use of dainty

14th century

Synonym Discussion of dainty

choice, option, alternative, preference, selection, election mean the act or opportunity of choosing or the thing chosen. choice suggests the opportunity or privilege of choosing freely <freedom of choice>. option implies a power to choose that is specifically granted or guaranteed <the option of paying now or later>. alternative implies a need to choose one and reject another possibility <equally attractive alternatives>. preference suggests a choice guided by one's judgment or predilections <a preference for cool weather>. selection implies a range of choice <a varied selection of furniture>. election implies an end or purpose which requires exercise of judgment <doing a tax return forces certain elections on you>.

choice, exquisite, elegant, rare, delicate, dainty mean having qualities that appeal to a cultivated taste. choice stresses preeminence in quality or kind <choice fabric>. exquisite implies a perfection in workmanship or design that appeals only to very sensitive taste <an exquisite gold bracelet>. elegant applies to what is rich and luxurious but restrained by good taste <a sumptuous but elegant dining room>. rare suggests an uncommon excellence <rare beauty>. delicate implies exquisiteness, subtlety, and fragility <delicate craftsmanship>. dainty sometimes carries an additional suggestion of smallness and of appeal to the eye or palate <dainty sandwiches>.

Seen and Heard

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February 8, 2016

to clear from accusation or blame

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