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

Synonyms: Adjective

Antonyms: Adjective

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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 Once established and happy in its home, best to not pair it with garden dainties lest they get steamrolled out of the garden. Paul Cappiello, The Courier-Journal, "Try this trio of pollinator plants for your Kentucky summer garden," 19 July 2019 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 Pew/Stateline Love those dainty little bottles of shampoo, conditioner and hand lotion in hotel bathrooms? Elaine S. Povich, USA TODAY, "Hotel shampoo bottles are latest victims in effort to curb plastic waste," 22 Nov. 2019 The child races into the darkened room, past gleaming trays of dainty cookies and cups of punch, straight to the foot of a 15-foot pine, gaily covered in a thick blanket of white lights. Melanie Radzicki Mcmanus, chicagotribune.com, "This holiday season, don’t just watch ‘The Nutcracker.’ Be part of the story in Oshkosh, Wis.," 18 Nov. 2019 Creating 'small moments' Up against a mountain slope on one side of the home, Costello designed a second-story addition that allowed for a dainty, private deck, adding another perch for city viewing. Lisa Van Loo, azcentral, "Spanish colonial home stripped down to recover spectacular Camelback Mountain views. Take a look.," 14 Nov. 2019 To accompany her show-stopping dress Reid sported a top-knot bun that enclosed a jeweled hair accessory, Sophia Webster shoes, and dainty silver hoops. Nandi Howard, Essence, "Storm Reid Electrifies The 2019 People's Choice Awards Red Carpet," 11 Nov. 2019 Outside of the TikTok challenge, celebs have been embracing dainty piercings, piercings inspired by the stars, and asymmetrical placements. Lauren Rearick, Teen Vogue, "TikTok Users Participated in the Piercing Challenge," 6 Nov. 2019 Messi plays another deft but distinctly route one ball up top and Suarez deigns to get on the end of it before crumbling at the daintiest of touches from Marquinhos. SI.com, "Barcelona 6-1 PSG: Remembering That Mad Midweek Miracle at Camp Nou," 30 Oct. 2019 The restaurant, decorated in antiques and chinoiserie-print wallpaper, has the dainty allure of a teahouse, only with cocktails and big-flavor small plates in place of light refreshments. Brett Anderson, New York Times, "10 Reasons Washington Is a Great Restaurant City," 29 Oct. 2019 Fleming is perfectly cast as Margaret Johnson, her outsized voice swelling to convey all of her mother’s love and romantic disappointment in contrast to her perfectly coiffed, dainty frame. Maureen Lee Lenker, EW.com, "Dove Cameron and Renée Fleming shine in staid The Light in the Piazza at L.A. Opera," 14 Oct. 2019

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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Time Traveler for dainty

Time Traveler

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

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Cite this Entry

“Dainty.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/daintiness. Accessed 6 December 2019.

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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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