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

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 And oversteer never feels more than an indelicate throttle-prod away, especially on damp roads and with modest tires. Tim Pitt, Robb Report, 31 May 2022 Noom is hardly the only company to be accused of indelicate messaging. Laura Forman, WSJ, 1 Feb. 2022 It has been estimated that at least a million limericks — good, mediocre and indelicate — are in existence today. Richard Lederer, San Diego Union-Tribune, 11 Dec. 2021 The loss of Lawrence is a huge blow, but at the risk of sounding indelicate, Lawrence was the unit’s best player last season and how did that turn out? David Moore, Dallas News, 17 Sep. 2021 For example, someone who remains calm and refrains from using indelicate words in high-pressure situations gives off a feeling of control even when those around them are losing their heads. Jon Michail, Forbes, 4 Mar. 2021 There is her decadence and indelicate sense of fancy; her fascination with animals and with bodies, both otherworldly and profane. Merve Emre, The New Yorker, 21 Dec. 2020 At first, Louisa had been horrified by the clumsy, indelicate house, though her horror was silent. Susan Choi, The New Yorker, 31 Aug. 2020 Some in Fall River are less than excited to be known as Lizzietown or Bordenville or any number of indelicate nicknames. Andrea Simakis, cleveland, 20 Oct. 2019 See More

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.

First Known Use of indelicate

1742, in the meaning defined above

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The first known use of indelicate was in 1742

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Cite this Entry

“Indelicate.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 12 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for indelicate


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

More from Merriam-Webster on indelicate

Nglish: Translation of indelicate for Spanish Speakers


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