del·i·ca·cy | \ˈde-li-kə-sē \
plural delicacies

Definition of delicacy 

1 obsolete

a : the quality or state of being luxurious

b : indulgence

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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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

Nashville hot chicken went from an African-American regional delicacy to a national phenomenon in about a decade. Maura Judkis, Houston Chronicle, "Pringles could never have captured Nashville’s hot chicken in a chip," 13 July 2018 But delicacy was the prize with the housemade spinach ravioli, whose thin-skinned dumplings were lifted to luxury by a vivid whiff of summer truffles. Craig Laban,, "Atlantic City restaurants: New casinos, diverse independent spots create rising culinary energy," 6 July 2018 These flaky, curd-cheese delicacies date to Henry VIII. Joanna Pocock,, "Romance is in the air at London's green spaces," 13 May 2018 Covering the central nave are superb 14th-century frescoes whose delicacy is all the more striking because of the rugged battlements surrounding them. Christopher Bagley, Condé Nast Traveler, "The Bewitching Time Warp of Transylvania, Romania," 4 May 2018 Rangers fans shouldn’t rest until this new delicacy is available all over the park. Dan Gartland,, "The Rangers’ Dilly Dog Is Actually Wildly Popular," 5 Apr. 2018 Hidde plans to sell the delicacy on sandwiches with mayonnaise and lemon juice at his own fish stand during concerts and festivals in Berlin this summer. Washington Post, "Can’t beat ‘em? Eat ‘em! Berlin captures, cooks crayfish," 11 June 2018 May and June are usually the most productive months to troll for the silver delicacies using flashers and other pop gear trailed by small spoons, squid jigs and wedding rings tipped with salmon eggs or shoepeg corn. Jordan Rodriguez, idahostatesman, "Planning a weekend fishing trip? They're biting close to Boise (fishing report, May 11) | Idaho Statesman," 11 May 2018 Drawn butter and perhaps a few lemon wedges are, for me, the ideal accompaniment to this peculiarly sweet delicacy. Anchorage Daily News, "Searching for Anchorage’s finest bites? Think seafood," 2 May 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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Learn More about delicacy

Statistics for delicacy

Last Updated

11 Oct 2018

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


del·i·ca·cy | \ˈde-li-kə-sē \
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

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


to reject or criticize sharply

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