dainty

noun
dain·​ty | \ ˈdān-tē How to pronounce dainty (audio) \
plural dainties

Definition of dainty

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : something delicious to the taste a London dainty—a pyramid of jelly— Virginia Woolf
b : something choice or pleasing
2 obsolete : fastidiousness

dainty

adjective
daintier; daintiest

Definition of dainty (Entry 2 of 2)

1a : tasting good : tasty dainty morsels
b : attractively prepared and served dainty sandwiches on silver trays
2 : marked by delicate or diminutive beauty, form, or grace dainty teacups took a dainty sip
3 obsolete : chary, reluctant … let us not be dainty of leave-taking …— Shakespeare
4a : marked by fastidious discrimination or finicky taste
b : showing avoidance of anything rough gentry too dainty to risk blisters on their hands— G. W. Johnson

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Other Words from dainty

Adjective

daintily \ ˈdān-​tə-​lē How to pronounce daintily (audio) \ adverb
daintiness \ ˈdān-​tē-​nəs How to pronounce daintiness (audio) \ noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for dainty

Synonyms: Noun

bit, cate [archaic], delectable, delicacy, goody (or goodie), kickshaw, tidbit (also titbit), treat, viand

Synonyms: Adjective

choosy (or choosey), delicate, demanding, exacting, fastidious, finical, finicking, finicky, fussbudgety, fussy, nice, old-maidish, particular, pernickety [chiefly British], persnickety, picky

Antonyms: Adjective

undemanding, unfastidious, unfussy

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Choose the Right Synonym for dainty

Adjective

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

Examples of dainty in a Sentence

Noun

the widow plied her suitor with dainties and endless glasses of sherry

Adjective

Her hair was decorated with dainty pink flowers. the girl's dainty little hands The dancers' dainty steps were followed by a series of leaps. She took a dainty sip of tea from her teacup. They served dainty sandwiches on silver trays. The food was served in dainty portions.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

This was a dainty, pinkish-brown bean of uncommon taste and velvety texture, grown in Hidalgo. Junot Díaz, The New Yorker, "The Hunt for Mexico’s Heirloom Beans," 17 Apr. 2018 Though both have great taste in accessories, Markle often chooses dainty, gold pieces while Middleton picks timeless statements like a silver watch. Rachel Epstein, Marie Claire, "Here's the Major Difference Between Meghan Markle and Kate Middleton's Style," 28 Feb. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

This dainty French dessert is almost too cute to eat. Taylor Murray, Country Living, "Jasmine Madeleines With Lemon-Poppy Seed Glaze," 1 Mar. 2019 The duchess also donned dainty stud earrings and a light pink manicure for the event. Erica Gonzales, Harper's BAZAAR, "Meghan Markle Wears Calvin Klein for a Gala Performance with Prince Harry," 12 Feb. 2019 Samir HusseinGetty Images To complete her outfit, Meghan accessorized with dainty gold bar earrings by Ecksand, a Canadian fine jewelry brand, and pulled her hair back into an effortless ponytail. Marina Liao, Marie Claire, "Meghan Markle Wore a Men's J.Crew Coat on the Royal Tour of Morocco," 26 Feb. 2019 The Best Actress nominee paired her structured gown with dainty earrings and a sleek low bun. Kayla Keegan, Good Housekeeping, "Emma Stone's 2019 Oscars Dress Is Basically a Sequin-Covered Honey Comb," 25 Feb. 2019 Matcha is the secret ingredient that gives these dainty shortbread biscuits their vibrant color and earthy flavor. Woman's Day Kitchen, Woman's Day, "Green Tea Cookies," 15 Feb. 2019 While highly impractical, these tiny purses are dainty and cute for special occasions. Marina Liao, Marie Claire, "5 Handbag Trends to Keep Your Eyes on in 2019," 22 Jan. 2019 Even Astrid and Miyu’s dainty stud and chain birthstone earrings and Mejuri’s white sapphire astrology rings show a personal touch. Madeline Fass, Vogue, "Make It Personal: 14 Custom Jewelry Gifts for Valentine’s Day," 1 Feb. 2019 Everything about Finck is dainty: her signature minimalist cartoons; her haircut (a sort of fuzzy pixie); her style (delicate florals, tiny beads, little gold earrings fitted with what look like freshwater pearls); her voice (gentle). Julia Felsenthal, Vogue, "In a New Graphic Memoir, Liana Finck Traces Her Own Origin Story," 18 Sep. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'dainty.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of dainty

Noun

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Adjective

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for dainty

Noun and Adjective

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

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Dictionary Entries near dainty

daint

daintify

daintith

dainty

daiquiri

dairy

dairy breed

Statistics for dainty

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Time Traveler for dainty

The first known use of dainty was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for dainty

dainty

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of dainty

: small and pretty
: done with small and careful movements
of food : attractive and served in small amounts

dainty

noun
dain·​ty | \ ˈdān-tē How to pronounce dainty (audio) \
plural dainties

Kids Definition of dainty

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a delicious food : delicacy

dainty

adjective
daintier; daintiest

Kids Definition of dainty (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : tasting good
2 : pretty in a delicate way dainty flowers
3 : having or showing delicate or finicky taste He is a dainty eater.

Other Words from dainty

daintily \ ˈdān-​tə-​lē \ adverb

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More from Merriam-Webster on dainty

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for dainty

Spanish Central: Translation of dainty

Nglish: Translation of dainty for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of dainty for Arabic Speakers

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