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ex·​qui·​site ek-ˈskwi-zət How to pronounce exquisite (audio) ˈek-(ˌ)skwi- How to pronounce exquisite (audio)
: marked by flawless craftsmanship or by beautiful, ingenious, delicate, or elaborate execution
an exquisite vase
: marked by nice discrimination, deep sensitivity, or subtle understanding
exquisite taste
: accomplished, perfected
an exquisite gentleman
: pleasing through beauty, fitness, or perfection
an exquisite white blossom
: acute, intense
exquisite pain
: having uncommon or esoteric appeal
: carefully selected : choice
archaic : accurate
exquisitely adverb
exquisiteness noun


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: one who is overly fastidious in dress or ornament

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Choose the Right Synonym for exquisite

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

Example Sentences

Adjective My dream was … to play smoky ballads of exquisite sweetness and sophistication with somebody like Michelle Pfeiffer leaning misty-eyed over my shoulder. Actually, since this was the middle of the fifties, my fantasy ideal was probably closer to Doris Day. Daniel C. Dennett, Curious Minds, (2004) 2005 Also on view is one of Poussin's first classical landscape paintings; its exquisite geometry provides fresh insight into why Cézanne was one of this great painter's most passionate admirers. Evelyn Toynton, Arts & Antiques, February 1996 a move executed with exquisite precision Her singing voice is truly exquisite. He chose his words with exquisite care.
Recent Examples on the Web
For another breathtaking collection set in exquisite surroundings, visit the collection of Auguste Renoir at the Hôtel Biron, the artist's onetime studio and now namesake museum. Hadley Keller, House Beautiful, 6 Sep. 2022 Though their characters’ connection rises and falls in Mike White’s exquisite, satirical series about privilege in paradise, the pairing of Rothwell and Coolidge came out on top, earning them both first-time Emmy nominations. Robert Abele, Los Angeles Times, 15 Aug. 2022 But Parker, like all his friends, knew that Hughes had exquisite taste. Stacie Stukin, ELLE Decor, 28 July 2022 Cave’s exquisite, iconic Soundsuits are also on display. Funmi Fetto, Vogue, 6 July 2022 Carole Middleton is best known as the mother of Kate Middleton, and much like her daughter the Duchess of Cambridge, the Middleton matriarch has exquisite taste. Roxanne Adamiyatt, Town & Country, 4 June 2022 Customized by interior designers, the inviting space is finished with exquisite taste, offering luxury appointments and modern updates throughout. Karen A. Avitabile, Hartford Courant, 16 May 2022 Most people that embark on such an endeavor unfortunately do not have exquisite taste. Emma Reynolds, Robb Report, 6 May 2022 The Queen of colorful gemstones and a lover for all things rainbow, Roxanne First’s eponymous brand reflects its founder’s exquisite taste in jewelry. Angela Lei, Forbes, 20 Jan. 2022
Why had all his predecessors failed to formulate such an exquisite, indeed mellifluous name for a place of spiritual quest? Vinson Cunningham, The New Yorker, 2 Nov. 2021 The most exquisite is the Single Late tulip, whose pastel versions are called French tulips by florists. Adrian Higgins, Washington Post, 20 Sep. 2021 The mac, resplendent in white cheese, was like putting a Mercedes in my mouth – that exquisite and that aerodynamic of an eat. Matt Wake | Mwake@al.com, al, 30 Mar. 2021 Potter’s ironies, veering between the blunt and the exquisite, the oblique and the confrontational, expose the cruel hazards of nature and the perversities of culture. Richard Brody, The New Yorker, 20 Nov. 2020 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'exquisite.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Word History


Adjective and Noun

Middle English exquisit, from Latin exquisitus, past participle of exquirere to search out, from ex- + quaerere to seek

First Known Use


15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 3


1819, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of exquisite was in the 15th century

Dictionary Entries Near exquisite

Cite this Entry

“Exquisite.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/exquisite. Accessed 28 Sep. 2022.

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Kids Definition



ex·​qui·​site ek-ˈskwi-zət How to pronounce exquisite (audio)
: finely made or done
exquisite workmanship
: very pleasing (as through beauty)
exquisite roses
: intense sense 1, extreme
exquisite pain

Medical Definition



ex·​qui·​site ik-ˈskwiz-ət How to pronounce exquisite (audio) ek- How to pronounce exquisite (audio)
: acute sense 2a, intense
exquisite pain

More from Merriam-Webster on exquisite

Last Updated: 27 Sep 2022

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