Dictionary

delicate

1delicate

adjective del·i·cate \ˈde-li-kət\

: 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>
2
a :  marked by keen sensitivity or fine discrimination <delicate insights> <a more delicate syntactic analysis — R. H. Robins>
b :  fastidious, squeamish <a person of delicate tastes>
3
a :  not robust in health or constitution :  weak, sickly <had been considered a delicate child>
b :  easily torn or damaged :  fragile <the delicate chain of life>
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>
del·i·cate·ly adverb

Examples of DELICATE

  1. He has a delicate stomach and often gets sick when traveling.
  2. The fabric has a delicate floral print.
  3. We hung delicate lace curtains in the windows.
  4. The tomb was adorned with delicate carvings.
  5. 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

2delicate

noun

Definition of DELICATE

:  something delicate

First Known Use of DELICATE

15th century

Browse

Next Word in the Dictionary: delicatenessPrevious Word in the Dictionary: delicacyAll Words Near: delicate
February 27, 2015
rationale Hear it
An explanation or underlying reason
Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!
How to use a word that (literally) drives some people nuts.
Test your vocab with our fun, fast game
Ailurophobia, and 9 other unusual fears