Simple Definition of delicate
: easily broken or damaged
: easily injured, hurt, or made sick
: attractive and made up of small or fine parts
Full Definition of delicate
1 : pleasing to the senses: a : generally pleasant <the climate's delicate, the air most sweet — Shakespeare> b : pleasing to the sense of taste or smell especially in a mild or subtle way <a delicate aroma> <a robust wine will dominate delicate dishes> c : marked by daintiness or charm of color, lines, or proportions <a delicate floral print> <an ample tear trilled down her delicate cheek — Shakespeare> d : marked by fineness of structure, workmanship, or texture <a delicate tracery> <a delicate lace>
4 a : requiring careful handling: (1) : easily unsettled or upset <a delicate balance> <the delicate relationships defined by the Constitution — New Yorker> (2) : requiring skill or tact <in a delicate position> <delicate negotiations> <a delicate operation> (3) : involving matters of a deeply personal nature : sensitive <this is a delicate matter. Could I possibly speak to you alone — Daphne Du Maurier> b : marked by care, skill, or tact <delicate handling of a difficult situation>
5 : marked by great precision or sensitivity <a delicate instrument>
Examples of delicate
He has a delicate stomach and often gets sick when traveling.
The fabric has a delicate floral print.
We hung delicate lace curtains in the windows.
The tomb was adorned with delicate carvings.
the delicate flavor of the wine
Origin of delicate
Middle English delicat, from Latin delicatus given to self-indulgence, fastidious, subtly pleasing, not robust; akin to Latin delicere to allure
First Known Use: 14th century
Synonym Discussion of delicate
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>.
Definition of delicate
: something delicate
First Known Use of delicate
Seen and Heard
What made you want to look up delicate? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).