del·​i·​ca·​cy | \ ˈde-li-kə-sē How to pronounce delicacy (audio) \
plural delicacies

Definition of delicacy

1 : something pleasing to eat that is considered rare or luxurious considered caviar a delicacy
2a : the quality or state of being dainty (see dainty entry 2 sense 2) : fineness lace of great delicacy the delicacy of a spider web
b : frailty sense 1 the delicacy of his health
3 : fineness or subtle expressiveness of touch (as in painting or music)
4a : refined sensibility in feeling or conduct handled the difficult situation with delicacy
b : the quality or state of being squeamish Hunger knows no delicacy.
5 : the quality or state of requiring delicate (see delicate entry 1 sense 4b) handling the delicacy of the tense negotiations
6a : precise and refined perception and discrimination the delicacy of his taste in art
b : extreme sensitivity : precision an electronic instrument of great delicacy
7 obsolete
a : the quality or state of being luxurious

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Synonyms for delicacy


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Examples of delicacy in a Sentence

The restaurant serves delicious sausages and other regional delicacies. the delicacy of the glassware The curtains were made from fine lace of great delicacy. a musician known for the delicacy of her compositions the delicacy of the young boy's features the delicacy of the perfume the delicacy of the wine's flavor Because of the delicacy of the situation, we needed to speak privately.
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Recent Examples on the Web Pom and her cohorts were part of the team cranking out black cod in miso and other delicacies for New York City A-listers. Amy Drew Thompson,, "Tee’ing up tastes for National Sandwich Day in Orlando," 31 Oct. 2019 She is allowed to leave her house until an 11 p.m. curfew, including traveling to Richmond, a nearby city with a diverse Chinese community and food courts with regional Chinese delicacies Friends and colleagues can visit her. Dan Bilefsky,, "The stakes are high as Huawei executive goes to court to fight extradition to the US from Canada," 19 Jan. 2020 Once a delicacy eaten by Chinese emperors, one of the world's largest freshwater fish just went extinct. Grace Hauck, USA TODAY, "Once a delicacy eaten by Chinese emperors, one of world's largest fish just went extinct," 10 Jan. 2020 Da Nang, Vietnam This tropical paradise in Asia is perfect for anyone not only wanting a lazy day on a pristine beach, but is also looking to gorge on delicious Vietnamese delicacies. Jessica Puckett, Condé Nast Traveler, "Where Everyone Wants to Go in 2020, According to the Internet," 8 Jan. 2020 Is there anything more indulgent than this Canadian delicacy featuring French fries topped with gravy and cheese curds? Kate Merker And Taylor Murray, Country Living, "Poutine," 6 Jan. 2020 The mild creaminess and delicacy of this seafood pie calls out for a wine that will cut through the neutrality of the flavors without clashing with them. The New York Times News Service Syndicate, The Denver Post, "A seafood pie for the feast," 20 Dec. 2019 In the bridge, a sparkling-ice piano underscores the song's delicacy and amplifies the mournfulness. Annie Zaleski, Billboard, "Forever No. 1: Roxette's 'It Must Have Been Love'," 12 Dec. 2019 From sprawling Persian palaces to intimate religious shrines of extraordinary architectural delicacy, Iran is home to 22 UNESCO World Heritage cultural sites and hundreds more historic sites of global importance. National Geographic, "What the world could lose in an Iran conflict," 6 Jan. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'delicacy.' 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 delicacy

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 7a

History and Etymology for delicacy

see delicate entry 1

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Time Traveler for delicacy

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

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Statistics for delicacy

Last Updated

15 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Delicacy.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 Feb. 2020.

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More Definitions for delicacy


How to pronounce delicacy (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of delicacy

: a food that people like to eat because it is special or rare
: the quality of being easily broken or damaged
: the quality of being easily injured, hurt, or made sick


del·​i·​ca·​cy | \ ˈde-li-kə-sē How to pronounce delicacy (audio) \
plural delicacies

Kids Definition of delicacy

1 : something pleasing to eat that is rare or a luxury
2 : fineness of structure She wore lace of great delicacy.
3 : weakness of body : frailty
4 : a need for careful treatment This is a situation of great delicacy.
5 : consideration for the feelings of others She had the delicacy to ignore my blunder.

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