in·​del·​i·​cate | \ (ˌ)in-ˈde-li-kət How to pronounce indelicate (audio) \

Definition of indelicate

: not delicate:
a(1) : lacking in or offending against propriety : improper
(2) : verging on the indecent : coarse
b : marked by a lack of feeling for the sensibilities of others : tactless

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Other Words from indelicate

indelicately adverb
indelicateness noun

Choose the Right Synonym for indelicate

indecorous, improper, unseemly, unbecoming, indelicate mean not conforming to what is accepted as right, fitting, or in good taste. indecorous suggests a violation of accepted standards of good manners. indecorous behavior improper applies to a broader range of transgressions of rules not only of social behavior but of ethical practice or logical procedure or prescribed method. improper use of campaign contributions unseemly adds a suggestion of special inappropriateness to a situation or an offensiveness to good taste. remarried with unseemly haste unbecoming suggests behavior or language that does not suit one's character or status. conduct unbecoming to an officer indelicate implies a lack of modesty or of tact or of refined perception of feeling. indelicate expressions for bodily functions

Examples of indelicate in a Sentence

Many consider it indelicate to talk about such things in mixed company. the company considered his indelicate handling of such a personal matter to be unprofessional

Recent Examples on the Web

Reared in New York's indelicate political culture, Trump does not like to appear meek, using rallies and his Twitter account to lacerate rivals. Paul Schwartzman And Josh Dawsey,, "'It's burning people out': Trump aides endure public fury toward president's policies around D.C.," 9 July 2018 Reared in New York’s indelicate political culture, Trump does not like to appear meek, using rallies and his Twitter account to lacerate rivals. Paul Schwartzman, Washington Post, "‘Viciousness’: Trump aides endure public fury toward president’s policies," 9 July 2018 Reared in New York's indelicate political culture, Trump does not like to appear meek, using rallies and his Twitter account to lacerate rivals. Author: Paul Schwartzman, Josh Dawsey, Anchorage Daily News, "'Viciousness': Trump aides endure public fury toward president's policies," 9 July 2018 But ugly stuff too: Tesla’s investor insurrection, thanks (in part) to Grimes’ Boyfriend’s indelicate earnings call comments. Aarian Marshall, WIRED, "This Week in the Future of Cars: Touch and Go," 11 May 2018 Is this an indelicate time to mention that the Ramblers beat a Tennessee team missing its shot-blocking center because of injury and beat a Kansas State team missing its top scorer and rebounder because of injury? Steve Rosenbloom,, "The natural next step in the Loyola story: NFL teams calling dibs on Sister Jean," 30 Mar. 2018 But an indelicate tweet published on the company's Twitter account said Papa John's drew more attention to the hate groups. Grace Schneider, The Courier-Journal, "John Schnatter stepping down as Papa John's CEO," 21 Dec. 2017 Acting Secretary Elaine Duke, another nonpolitical homeland expert, ran into trouble for indelicate comments in response to a question about one of the recent hurricanes, for instance. Laura Meckler, WSJ, "Trump Picks Kirstjen Nielsen for Homeland Security Secretary," 11 Oct. 2017 At the same time, the musician’s indelicate missives compel one to ask just what drove Mozart’s proclivity to fixate on things scatological. Jonathan Rosenberg, The Christian Science Monitor, "'Mozart: The Man Revealed' explores a life infused with as much drama as any opera," 8 Sep. 2017

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

1742, in the meaning defined above

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Time Traveler for indelicate

The first known use of indelicate was in 1742

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More Definitions for indelicate



English Language Learners Definition of indelicate

formal : not polite : having or showing bad manners or taste


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

Kids Definition of indelicate

: not polite or proper : coarse an indelicate subject

Other Words from indelicate

indelicately adverb

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More from Merriam-Webster on indelicate

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for indelicate

Spanish Central: Translation of indelicate

Nglish: Translation of indelicate for Spanish Speakers

Comments on indelicate

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


appealing forcibly to the mind or reason

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