delicacy

noun del·i·ca·cy \ ˈde-li-kə-sē \
Updated on: 15 Nov 2017

Definition of delicacy

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

Examples of delicacy in a Sentence

  1. The restaurant serves delicious sausages and other regional delicacies.

  2. the delicacy of the glassware

  3. The curtains were made from fine lace of great delicacy.

  4. a musician known for the delicacy of her compositions

  5. the delicacy of the young boy's features

  6. the delicacy of the perfume

  7. the delicacy of the wine's flavor

  8. Because of the delicacy of the situation, we needed to speak privately.

Recent Examples of delicacy from the Web

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.

Origin and Etymology of delicacy

delicacy Synonyms

Synonyms
bit, cate [archaic], dainty, delectable, goody (or goodie), kickshaw, tidbit (also titbit), treat, viand
Antonyms
coarseness, crudeness, crudity, roughness, rudeness
Related Words
morsel; candy, dessert, junket, sweet, sweetmeat
Near Antonyms
firmness, solidity; strength

DELICACY Defined for Kids

delicacy

noun del·i·ca·cy \ ˈde-li-kə-sē \

Definition of delicacy for Students

plural delicacies
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.


Seen and Heard

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

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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

WORD OF THE DAY

to praise usually to excess

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Find the Cousins

  • a-large-tree-with-many-branches
  • Which pair shares a common word ancestor?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Word Winder's CrossWinder

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!