Quantcast
Merriam-Webster Logo
  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
  • Scrabble
  • Spanish Central
  • Learner's Dictionary

Thesaurus

delicate

adjective

Synonyms and Antonyms of delicate

  1. 1 satisfying or pleasing because of fineness or mildness <a heavy sauce would spoil the delicate flavor of this fish> Synonyms airy, dainty, exquisite, nuanced, refined, subtle Related Words choice, elegant, extraordinary, incomparable, peerless, preeminent, prime, rare, select, superior, superlative, supreme, transcendent, unsurpassed; picked, selected; fine, fragile, frail Near Antonyms coarse, crude, rough; common, ordinary; average, fair, indifferent, mediocre, medium, middling, run-of-the-mill, second-rate Antonyms robust, strong, sturdy

  2. 2 able to sense slight impressions or differences <only a person with delicate taste buds could tell the difference between these two wines> Synonyms acute, fine, keen, perceptive, quick, sensitive, sharpRelated Words accurate, clear, discerning, good, piercing, precise, receptive, sensible, subtle; hair-trigger, hyperacute, hypersensitive, oversensitive, supersensitiveNear Antonyms bad, deadened, dimmed, dull, dulled, fading; dead, imperceptive, insensible, insensitive, numb; imprecise, inaccurate

  3. 3 accomplished with trained ability <the delicate handling of a difficult diplomatic situation> Synonyms adroit, artful, bravura, deft, skillful, dexterous (also dextrous), expert, masterful, masterly, practiced (also practised), virtuoso, workmanlikeRelated Words facile, smooth; artistic, creative, fancy, ingenious, neat; adept, clever, cunning; able, adequate, capable, competentNear Antonyms awkward, clumsy, crude, klutzy; ineffective, ineffectual; incompetent, ineptAntonyms amateur, amateurish, artless, rude, unprofessional, unskillful

  4. 4 easily broken <delicate glassware that must be carefully wrapped for shipping> Synonyms breakable, fragile, frail, frangibleRelated Words dainty, fine, gossamer; eggshell, flimsy, slight, tenuous; brittle, crisp, crispy, crumbly, crushable, embrittled, flaky (also flakey), friable, shaky, shivery, short; feeble, infirm, soft, spindly, tender, weak; inelastic, inflexible, stiffNear Antonyms compact, firm, hard, rigid, solid, substantial, unyielding; elastic, flexible, resilient, rubberlike, rubbery, springy, stretch, stretchable, suppleAntonyms infrangible, nonbreakable, strong, sturdy, tough, unbreakable

  5. 5 easily injured without careful handling <the delicate ecosystem of the wetlands> Synonyms tender, fragile, frail, sensitiveRelated Words breakable, brittle, crushable, eggshell, frangible, friable; feeble, flimsy, puny, slight, soft, tenuous, weak; nonhardy, perishable, resistless, susceptible, unresistant, vulnerable, yieldingNear Antonyms durable, firm, flinty, hard, hardy, resistant, robust, rugged, solid, sound, stiff, stout, strong, sturdy, substantial; infrangible, nonbreakable, unbreakable; hardened, inured, strengthened, tempered, toughenedAntonyms tough

  6. 6 hard to please <a person of delicate tastes> Synonyms choosy (or choosey), dainty, finicky, demanding, exacting, fastidious, finical, finicking, fussbudgety, fussy, nice, old-maidish, particular, pernickety [chiefly British], persnickety, pickyRelated Words hyperfastidious, overdemanding, ultrafastidious; discerning, discriminating, selective; insightful, knowledgeable; captious, carping, caviling (or cavilling), critical, faultfinding, hypercritical, overcritical; careful, meticulous, painstaking, punctilious, scrupulous; queasy (also queazy), squeamish; peevish, petulant, prickly, touchy; niminy-piminy, prim, prissyNear Antonyms affable, breezy, carefree, devil-may-care, happy-go-lucky, lackadaisical, laid-back, low-pressure, relaxed; flexible, lax, loose; lenient, permissive; uncritical; indiscriminating, undiscriminatingAntonyms undemanding, unfastidious, unfussy

  7. 7 having qualities that appeal to a refined taste <delicate perfumes that only a connoisseur of scents would appreciate> Synonyms dainty, choice, elegant, exquisite, fine, rare, recherché, selectRelated Words bijou, jewellike; better, exceptional, fancy, high-grade, special; elite, exclusive; classic, excellent, fabulous, first-class, first-rate, grand, great, marvelous (or marvellous), noble, outstanding, par excellence, premium, prime, sensational, splendid, stellar, sterling, superb, superior, superlative, supernal, terrific, tip-top, top, top-notch, transcendant, unsurpassed, wonderful; ultrarareNear Antonyms coarse, gross, kitsch, kitschy, lowbrow, raffish, rough, rough-hewn, tasteless, uncultivated, uncultured, unpolished, unrefined, vulgar; commercial, mass-produced, popular; common, ordinary; average, lesser, mediocre, run-of-the-mill, run-of-the-mine (or run-of-mine), second-class, second-rate; deficient, inferior, low-grade, substandard, unacceptable, unsatisfactory, wanting

  8. 8 lacking bodily strength <a delicate child who was never allowed to play sports> Synonyms asthenic, debilitated, weak, down-and-out, effete, enervated, enfeebled, faint, feeble, frail, infirm, languid, low, prostrate, prostrated, sapped, slight, soft, softened, tender, unsubstantial, wasted, weakened, wimpish, wimpyRelated Words challenged, disabled, incapacitated, invalid; paralyzed; broken-down, decrepit; impotent, powerless; breakable, flimsy, fragile; dizzy, groggy, rocky, unsteady, woozy; drained, exhausted, flagging, tired, weary, worn-out; damaged, harmed, hurt, impaired, injured, lame, unsound; resistless, susceptible, unresistant, vulnerable, yieldingNear Antonyms able-bodied, athletic, beefy, brawny, fit, husky, muscular, sinewy, strapping, virile; hard, hardy, lusty, red-blooded, robust, sturdy, tough; fortified, hardened, inured, strengthened, toughened; energetic, energized, invigorated, vigorous, vitalized; hale, healthy, sound; capable, competent; convalescing, recovering, recuperatingAntonyms mighty, powerful, rugged, stalwart, stout, strong

  9. 9 made or done with extreme care and accuracy <delicate measurements of brain tumors that are only possible using the latest medical technology> Synonyms fine, exact, finespun, hairline, hairsplitting, minute, nice, nuanced, refined, subtleRelated Words nitpicking, quibbling; frivolous, inconsequential, inconsiderable, insignificant, negligible, petty, piddling, trifling, trivial; demanding, exacting, fastidious, finical, finicking, finicky, fussy, meticulous, particular, pickyNear Antonyms apparent, clear, clear-cut, evident, manifest, obvious, open-and-shut, palpable, patent, perspicuous, plain, transparent, unambiguous, unequivocal, unmistakable; broad, indefinite; careless, heedless, incautious, slapdash, slipshod, sloppyAntonyms coarse, inexact, rough

  10. 10 meeting the highest standard of accuracy <extremely delicate instruments such as an atomic clock> Synonyms accurate, close, precise, exact, fine, hairline, mathematical, pinpoint, refined, rigorous, spot-onRelated Words correct, right, strict, true; definite, definitive; nice, subtle; careful, fastidious, finical, finicky, meticulousNear Antonyms approximate, round; false, incorrect, untrue, wrong; careless, loose; indefinite, unclear, vague; doubtful, dubious, questionable, unreliable, untrustworthyAntonyms coarse, imprecise, inaccurate, inexact, rough

  11. 11 not harsh or stern especially in nature or effect <a delicate breeze was floating in from the open window> Synonyms balmy, benign, bland, gentle, light, mellow, mild, nonabrasive, soft, soothing, tenderRelated Words calm, pacific, peaceful, placid, quiet, serene, tranquil; clement, compassionate, easy, lenient, merciful; buffering, cushioning, emollient, softening; sleek, slick, smoothNear Antonyms exquisite, fierce, intense, powerful, severe; forceful, forcible, savage, violent; roughened, rugged, strong; abrading, irritating, roughening; grim, gruff, rude, stiff; heavy-handed, oppressive, pitiless, tyrannical (also tyrannic)Antonyms abrasive, caustic, coarse, hard, harsh, rough, scathing, stern, ungentle

  12. 12 requiring exceptional skill or caution in performance or handling <the delicate challenge of inviting two people who don't like each other to the same party> Synonyms catchy, tricky, difficult, dodgy [chiefly British], hairy, knotty, nasty, prickly, problematic (also problematical), sensitive, spiny, sticky, thorny, ticklish, touchy, tough, tricksyRelated Words abstract, abstruse, complex, complicated, hard, intricate, involved, recondite, serious; problem, scabrous, stubborn, troublesome, troublous, vexatious, vexing, worrisome; burdensome, demanding, discommoding, exacting, exhausting, importunate, inconvenient, onerous, oppressive, painful, stressfulNear Antonyms easy, effortless, manageable, painless, simple, straightforward, uncomplicated, undemanding, unproblematic





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).

WORD OF THE DAY

to dishevel or rumple

Get Word of the Day daily email!

WORD GAMES

Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!

alt-5746713d76276

Which of these is a synonym of nonplus?

perplex reduce disapprove soothe
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ