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 dainty (audio) \ adverb
daintiness \ ˈdān-​tē-​nəs How to pronounce dainty (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 Shoppers are also obsessed with these boho earrings and dainty, stackable rings. Courtney Campbell, USA TODAY, "The 10 best places you can buy jewelry online," 26 Oct. 2020 Tripods with a durable finish that can be used in inclement weather are an even better bet for photographers who aren’t dainty with their equipment and elk hunters traveling in rugged country during inclement weather. The Editors, Field & Stream, "Three Things To Consider When Buying A Tripod," 12 Sep. 2019 And, more noticeable to me, tea parties with dainty, delftware dishes and delectable confections. Elise Taylor, Vogue, "Thanks to Bridgerton, Fancy Tea Sets Have Become the New Home Must-Have," 21 Jan. 2021 And Selena definitely makes the case for investing in satin sheets and pillowcases, which just so happen to perfectly match her dainty attire. Mary Elizabeth Andriotis, House Beautiful, "We’re Obsessed With the Decor in Selena Gomez’s New Music Video," 15 Jan. 2021 There was something endearing about this dainty slip of a woman with a Donna Reed haircut that had enough strength to lift a sledgehammer above her head and take down four men. Esther Mollica, Wired, "Postapocalyptic Video Games Saved Me From Pandemic Despair," 12 Jan. 2021 But there has been a proliferation of purses that range from dainty—like Gucci’s mini Jackie bag—to the truly petite, like several of Paco Rabanne’s slinky chain-link sacs for spring 2021. Chloe Schama, Vogue, "How One Vogue Editor Gave Up Her Pack Mule Life for a Small Bag Future," 14 Dec. 2020 For affordable dainty jewelry, get 20% off three or more items—or, get 15% off two, and 10% off one item through November 30. Talia Abbas, Glamour, "91 Best Cyber Monday Deals 2020 to Shop Now," 29 Nov. 2020 From tender Lebanese Atteyef to no-bake Swedish Snowballs, dainty Polish Kolaczki to melt-in-your-mouth Mexican Polvorones, these cookies span the globe. jsonline.com, "Cookies are forever: Favorite Christmas recipes and family memories go together," 2 Dec. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective On Wednesday, Jennifer Lopez was seen in Beverly Hills wearing the ultimate pandemic-era look: a silk, monochrome pyjama-like set paired with a linen face mask adorned with a dainty gold chain. Eliza Huber, refinery29.com, "Jennifer Lopez Wore Going-Out PJs With 2020’s Most Useful Accessory," 23 Dec. 2020 Pajama tops are cast in dainty floral prints, and their matching bottoms feature ruffles on the hems. Barry Samaha, Harper's BAZAAR, "LoveShackFancy and Morgan Lane Partner on the Prettiest Loungewear Collection," 15 Dec. 2020 Choose from dainty initial necklaces, zodiac rings, pretty stackable bracelets, and more. Amanda Tarlton, USA TODAY, "20 Black-owned businesses to support this holiday season," 3 Dec. 2020 And Margaux's dainty Demi style is a longtime fan favorite for its demure elegance and walkable versatility. Lauren Hubbard, Town & Country, "Margaux Now Lets You Monogram Your Demi Flats," 13 Nov. 2020 And her refined style extends to her accessories, too, according to a recent photo that showed Kate sporting a dainty gold necklace. Amanda Tarlton, USA TODAY, "Kate Middleton wore a monogram necklace with her kids’ initials—here’s where you can buy it," 22 Sep. 2020 Reviewers of the item remark how dainty and delicate the necklace is. Patrice J. Williams, USA TODAY, "10 fashion items you can wear to encourage voting for the 2020 election," 3 Sep. 2020 The state record hauled out of the Colorado River in 2014 by angler Bryan Townsend on a crawfish fly tipped the scales at a dainty 3.71 pounds. Matt Wyatt, ExpressNews.com, "Central Texas stream in Williamson County a unique spot to fish for Guadalupe bass," 27 Aug. 2020 Compared to wombats, Archer tells ABC that Mukupirna had dainty chompers with thin enamel that suggest its diet consisted of softer, more nutritious foliage than the tough grasses favored by wombats today. Alex Fox, Smithsonian Magazine, "300-Pound, Wombat-Like Creature Once Roamed Australia," 29 June 2020

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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Statistics for dainty

Last Updated

14 Feb 2021

Cite this Entry

“Dainty.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/dainty. Accessed 25 Feb. 2021.

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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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