delicate

adjective
del·​i·​cate | \ ˈde-li-kət How to pronounce delicate (audio) \

Definition of delicate

 (Entry 1 of 2)

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
2a : marked by keen sensitivity or fine discrimination delicate insights a more delicate syntactic analysis— R. H. Robins
b : fastidious, squeamish a person of delicate tastes
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 ConstitutionNew 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

delicate

noun

Definition of delicate (Entry 2 of 2)

: something delicate usually used in pluralwashing delicates by hand

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Other Words from delicate

Adjective

delicately adverb

Synonyms & Antonyms for delicate

Synonyms: Adjective

Antonyms: Adjective

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Choose the Right Synonym for delicate

Adjective

choice, exquisite, elegant, rare, delicate, dainty mean having qualities that appeal to a cultivated taste. choice stresses preeminence in quality or kind. choice fabric exquisite implies a perfection in workmanship or design that appeals only to very sensitive taste. an exquisite gold bracelet elegant applies to what is rich and luxurious but restrained by good taste. a sumptuous but elegant dining room rare suggests an uncommon excellence. rare beauty delicate implies exquisiteness, subtlety, and fragility. delicate craftsmanship dainty sometimes carries an additional suggestion of smallness and of appeal to the eye or palate. dainty sandwiches

Examples of delicate in a Sentence

Adjective 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
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective It was also predicted to pound Kolkata, one of India’s biggest and most historic cities, the first major capital during British colonial times and full of old and delicate buildings. New York Times, "Cyclone Amphan Live Updates: Storm Strikes Coast as India and Bangladesh Take Shelter," 20 May 2020 The delicate fragments of parchment and papyrus were preserved for 2,000 years thanks to the dark, dry conditions in the caves. Fox News, "Dead Sea Scrolls discovery: Fragments thought to be blank reveal text," 19 May 2020 The variety is prized for its delicate flavors and also serves as a fixative, helping the gin to retain its citrus crispness. Jake Emen, Condé Nast Traveler, "Inside Nairobi's Growing Craft Drink Scene," 18 May 2020 Confidence began to bloom in my stomach, its petals delicate but colorful. Ella Dawson, Longreads, "The Lie of ‘One Last Time’ with My Ex," 18 May 2020 Crocuses and early daffodils are up, soon to give way to later varieties, the delicate blue and white stars of puschkinia, to tulips, and then the flowers of early summer. Perdita Buchan, The Christian Science Monitor, "Two crises, two gardens," 13 May 2020 After more than five years of highly technical analysis, delicate negotiations and numerous fits and starts along the way, the path to restructuring Alaska’s once-disjointed Railbelt electric system is officially complete. Elwood Brehmer, Anchorage Daily News, "Long-sought Alaska Railbelt utility integration finally becomes law," 13 May 2020 More delicate materials, like silk or synthetic sateens are more likely to degrade during cleaning and can't be sanitized as throughly. Sara Rodrigues, House Beautiful, "How to Clean Face Masks Safely," 7 May 2020 The back is curved, too, and made from a delicate glass. Ron Amadeo, Ars Technica, "LG takes the wraps off its “Velvet” smartphone, priced in Korea at $738," 7 May 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Boyd suggests turning the item inside out, and agrees that using a mesh bag—which also comes in handy for washing delicates and lingerie—to protect from friction and snagging is best. Alexandra Ilyashov, Glamour, "How to Do Laundry: A Guide to Washing Every Single Fabric," 7 Apr. 2020 The two steam levels, high for sturdy fabrics and low for delicates and the option to use it dry with no steam at all, helped it compete with the corded irons in our tests. Sarah Bogdan, Good Housekeeping, "5 Best Cordless Irons to Buy in 2019, According to Cleaning Experts," 15 Feb. 2019 Woolite is a home run, along with any other detergents geared toward delicates. Shelby Deering, Country Living, "How to Hand Wash Clothes," 7 Feb. 2020 One knocked its antlers against the boards and then tucked itself back into the flow, eyes rolling in a face delicate from the side but moose-like and broad from the front. Juliana Hanle, Scientific American, "The Fight for the Reindeer," 18 Nov. 2019 When washing lingerie, sweaters, and other delicates by hand, avoid these common mishaps that could ruin your favorite fabrics. 1. Carolyn Forte, Good Housekeeping, "5 Major Mistakes You Make Hand-Washing Clothes," 2 Apr. 2015 The top machine handles a full load while the mini washer is perfect for delicates, athletic wear, or small loads that need special attention. Carolyn Forte, Good Housekeeping, "These May Be the Washing Machines of Your Dreams," 16 Jan. 2015 The Thong’, this classic cotton thong style from Everlane holds the top spot in my delicates drawer because of its breathable material and classic fit. Tara Gonzalez, Glamour, "The World's Most Comfortable Thongs, According to Glamour Editors," 4 Apr. 2019 Once dry, stack your delicates together in your drawer to help them maintain their shape. Lauren Smith, Good Housekeeping, "How to Wash a Bra the Right Way — And Mistakes You Might Be Making," 3 Nov. 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'delicate.' 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 delicate

Adjective

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Noun

15th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for delicate

Adjective and Noun

Middle English delicat, from Latin delicatus given to self-indulgence, fastidious, subtly pleasing, not robust; akin to Latin delicere to allure

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Time Traveler for delicate

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for delicate

Last Updated

24 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Delicate.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/delicate. Accessed 5 Jun. 2020.

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More Definitions for delicate

delicate

adjective
How to pronounce delicate (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of delicate

: easily broken or damaged
: easily injured, hurt, or made sick
: attractive and made up of small or fine parts

delicate

adjective
del·​i·​cate | \ ˈde-li-kət How to pronounce delicate (audio) \

Kids Definition of delicate

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 sense 1 a delicate child
6 : requiring tact a delicate subject

Other Words from delicate

delicately adverb

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Comments on delicate

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