delicacy

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

Definition of delicacy

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
3a : 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
4 : fineness or subtle expressiveness of touch (as in painting or music)
5a : precise and refined perception and discrimination the delicacy of his taste in art
b : extreme sensitivity : precision an electronic instrument of great delicacy
6a : 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 delicate entry 1 sense 4b) handling the delicacy of the tense negotiations

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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

His work in this idiom was once unsparing in its aggression, but there’s now more room for delicacy. Seth Colter Walls, New York Times, "Review: A Tour Through the Hyperactive World of John Zorn," 2 July 2018 Its delicacy speaks to the subtle nature of Michelangelo’s artistic renewal. Sam Sacks, WSJ, "Fiction: A Critical Mass of Absurdist Misapprehensions," 30 Nov. 2018 They have never been exhibited in such abundance, and their delicacy and color enlivens the show, especially the close-ups of walls. Roberta Smith, New York Times, "Back in the Bronx: Gordon Matta-Clark, Rogue Sculptor," 11 Jan. 2018 There are huddles of the Spanish delicacy percebes (goose barnacles); clusters of indigo mussels clinging to black metamorphic nobs. Tamar Adler, Vogue, "Is Seaweed the Perfect Food?," 15 Feb. 2019 Japanese pufferfish are among the most prized and notorious delicacies in the sea. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "Climate Change Turning Pufferfish into Mutant Hybrids," 11 Dec. 2018 Located near Casino Square, its design has a contemporary edge and a glass-domed atrium, and guests can enjoy excellent food throughout; try Yoshi, opened by Joël Robuchon, for Japanese delicacies in a secluded garden dining room. Cnt Editors, Condé Nast Traveler, "The Best Hotels in Europe: 2018 Readers' Choice Awards," 9 Oct. 2018 Hald tells Geggel that fruits originating from the Mediterranean region, such as figs, raisins and lemon peels, were likely prepared as dried delicacies in order to prevent them from spoiling on the journey north to Denmark. Meilan Solly, Smithsonian, "Archaeologists Unseal 17th-Century Danish Latrines to Discover Copenhageners’ Dietary Habits," 9 July 2018 Get some BBQ Montreal has no shortage of excellent eats, but there's good reason to head to Jacques Cartier Quay in the Old Port from September 13 through 16: Le Grand Ribfest, a chance to discover some out-of-town delicacies. Cnt Editors, Condé Nast Traveler, "What to Do in Montreal in September 2018," 10 Sep. 2018

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 1a

History and Etymology for delicacy

see delicate entry 1

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Statistics for delicacy

Last Updated

12 Apr 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

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