delicacy

noun
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

Synonyms

bit, cate [archaic], dainty, delectable, goody (or goodie), kickshaw, tidbit (also titbit), treat, viand

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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

Apparently, the latest bachelorette is a big fan of the delicious delicacy, and who can blame her? Kara Nesvig, Teen Vogue, ""The Bachelorette" Has an Obsession With Chicken Nuggets," 28 May 2019 This weekend, the Triangle-area city is hosting its second-annual celebration of a beloved Southern delicacy: pimento cheese. Meghan Overdeep, Southern Living, "This Is Not a Drill: North Carolina Has a Pimento Cheese Festival This Weekend," 4 June 2019 In their search for enticing new delicacies, culinary explorers are now traveling the world. Ruth Reichl, Town & Country, "This Scarlet Prawn Is the Best Seafood You Can Eat," 30 Jan. 2019 Between 50 and 70 people attended, drinking Corona, Presidente and Heineken beers, gobbling down empanadasand other Latin delicacies for sale. David Ovalle, miamiherald, "Who shot the cockfight ref? Secret arena outside Miami was packed but nobody's talking," 12 June 2018 At the family-style dinner, delicacies were served, from spicy tuna tartare to a layered chocolate cake. Michaela Bechler, Vogue, "Prada Presents the Lunchbox Fund’s Annual Fall Benefit Dinner in New York," 16 Oct. 2018 The second festival, in late August, honors the village’s patron saint, Louis IX, the French king and crusader, with a small carnival of local delicacies, flamenco dancing, big bands, theater and rides for the children and trovo for the old timers. Albion Land, WSJ, "If You’re Thinking About Retiring in Spain," 20 Nov. 2018 This part of South Korea is known for its wind — so much so that pollock fish, a local delicacy, are hung on lines to dry here in the freezing gusts. Anna Fifield, Washington Post, "Olympics open with dazzling spectacle and warm gestures between the Koreas," 9 Feb. 2018 Dubbed Beer for Breakfast, the 7.4 percent ABV stout is brewed with a local delicacy known as scrapple. Matt Allyn, Popular Mechanics, "This Beer Is Basically an Entire Brunch In a Bottle," 31 Oct. 2016

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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Statistics for delicacy

Last Updated

21 Jun 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for delicacy

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

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More Definitions for delicacy

delicacy

noun

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

delicacy

noun
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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More from Merriam-Webster on delicacy

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for delicacy

Spanish Central: Translation of delicacy

Nglish: Translation of delicacy for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of delicacy for Arabic Speakers

Comments on delicacy

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