Definition of delicate
1 : pleasing to the senses:a : generally pleasant <the climate's delicate, the air most sweet — William Shakespeare>b : pleasing to the sense of taste or smell especially in a mild or subtle way <a delicate aroma> <a robust wine will dominate delicate dishes>c : marked by daintiness or charm of color, lines, or proportions <a delicate floral print> <an ample tear trilled down her delicate cheek — William Shakespeare>d : marked by fineness of structure, workmanship, or texture <a delicate tracery> <a delicate lace>
3a : not robust in health or constitution : weak, sickly <had been considered a delicate child>b : easily torn or damaged : fragile <delicate wine glasses> <a delicate flower> <the delicate chain of life>
4a : requiring careful handling: (1) : easily unsettled or upset <a delicate balance> <the delicate relationships defined by the Constitution — New Yorker> (2) : requiring skill or tact <in a delicate position> <delicate negotiations> <a delicate operation> (3) : involving matters of a deeply personal nature : sensitive <this is a delicate matter. Could I possibly speak to you alone — Daphne Du Maurier>b : marked by care, skill, or tact <her delicate handling of a difficult situation>
5 : marked by great precision or sensitivity <a delicate instrument>
Examples of delicate in a sentence
He has a delicate stomach and often gets sick when traveling.
The fabric has a delicate floral print.
We hung delicate lace curtains in the windows.
The tomb was adorned with delicate carvings.
the delicate flavor of the wine
Origin and Etymology of delicate
Middle English delicat, from Latin delicatus given to self-indulgence, fastidious, subtly pleasing, not robust; akin to Latin delicere to allure
First Known Use: 14th century
Synonym Discussion of delicate
Definition of delicate
: something delicate <washing delicates by hand>
DELICATE Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of delicate for English Language Learners
: easily broken or damaged
: easily injured, hurt, or made sick
: attractive and made up of small or fine parts
DELICATE Defined for Kids
Definition of delicate for Students
1 : pleasing because of fineness or mildness <a delicate flavor>
2 : able to sense very small differences <a delicate instrument>
3 : calling for skill and careful treatment <a delicate operation>
4 : easily damaged <delicate flowers>
5 : sickly 1 <a delicate child>
6 : requiring tact <a delicate subject>
Seen and Heard
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