dainty

noun
dain·ty | \ˈdān-tē \
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

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from dainty

Adjective

daintily \ˈdān-tə-lē \ adverb
daintiness \ˈdān-tē-nəs \ noun

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.
See More

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

Meghan also chose to wear her hair in a low bun, and opted for dainty diamond earrings from Plaisirs de Birks. Michelle Manetti, Good Housekeeping, "Meghan Markle Just Stepped Out in the Most Stunning Black Dress," 19 Apr. 2018 The leaves are dark and glossy, and their flowers are dainty, pale pink and white. Rachel Swalin, ELLE Decor, "How To Arrange Flowers For The Most Stunning Homemade Bouquets," 21 June 2017 Music director Candida Caldicot does a terrific job accompanying the action — at turns mournful, dainty or racy — on a piano to the side of the stage. Demetrios Matheou, The Hollywood Reporter, "'The Lehman Trilogy': Theater Review," 13 July 2018 Marais makes an amazing sandal sturdy in form yet dainty in appearance. Liana Satenstein, Vogue, "Vogue Staffers Pick the Most Chic and Comfortable Shoes to Wear to Work This Summer," 28 June 2018 After locking lips with their sleeping victims, these inch-long insects take a dainty dump at the scene of the crime. Katherine J. Wu, Smithsonian, "How Tiny Trackers Could Help Humans Avoid Kissing Bugs’ Deadly Smooch," 9 July 2018 To complete her all-white ensemble, Middleton paired the elegant dress with a dainty white hair topper by Jane Taylor that was embellished with white flowers. Cady Lang, Time, "Kate Middleton Wore an Elegant All-White Ensemble to Prince Louis' Royal Christening," 9 July 2018 From Meghan Markle's dainty bracelets to Kate Middleton's trusty pair of boots, there's always a lot of chatter surrounding the royal family's fashion choices. Kayla Keegan, Good Housekeeping, "Why Prince Charles Always Wears a Ring on His Pinky," 5 July 2018 She's been rocking the dainty chain non-stop lately, even making it the centerpiece of her look for this year's Met Gala. Kelsey Stiegman, Seventeen, "Selena Gomez Wore $21.5k Worth of Diamonds to Her First Movie Premiere in Two Years," 2 July 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.

See More

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

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

Adjective

see dainty entry 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about dainty

Dictionary Entries near dainty

daint

daintify

daintith

dainty

daiquiri

dairy

dairy breed

Statistics for dainty

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for dainty

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

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 \
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

Keep scrolling for more

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

Comments on dainty

What made you want to look up dainty? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

to reject or criticize sharply

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words from Greek and Roman Mythology Quiz

  • the-triumph-of-venus-by-alessandro-magnasco
  • Boreal comes from the name of the ancient Greek god of which wind?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Bee Cubed

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

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!