Thesaurus

delicate

adjective

Synonyms & Antonyms of delicate

1 satisfying or pleasing because of fineness or mildness
  • a heavy sauce would spoil the delicate flavor of this fish

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2 able to sense slight impressions or differences
  • only a person with delicate taste buds could tell the difference between these two wines

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3 accomplished with trained ability
  • the delicate handling of a difficult diplomatic situation

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4 easily broken
  • delicate glassware that must be carefully wrapped for shipping

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5 easily injured without careful handling
  • the delicate ecosystem of the wetlands

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9 made or done with extreme care and accuracy
  • delicate measurements of brain tumors that are only possible using the latest medical technology

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10 meeting the highest standard of accuracy
  • extremely delicate instruments such as an atomic clock

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11 not harsh or stern especially in nature or effect
  • a delicate breeze was floating in from the open window

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12 requiring exceptional skill or caution in performance or handling
  • the delicate challenge of inviting two people who don't like each other to the same party

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See the Dictionary Definition 

Frequently Asked Questions About delicate

How is the word delicate different from other adjectives like it?

Some common synonyms of delicate are choice, dainty, elegant, exquisite, and rare. While all these words mean "having qualities that appeal to a cultivated taste," delicate implies exquisiteness, subtlety, and fragility.

delicate craftsmanship

Where would choice be a reasonable alternative to delicate?

The words choice and delicate are synonyms, but do differ in nuance. Specifically, choice stresses preeminence in quality or kind.

choice fabric

In what contexts can dainty take the place of delicate?

While the synonyms dainty and delicate are close in meaning, dainty sometimes carries an additional suggestion of smallness and of appeal to the eye or palate.

dainty sandwiches

When can elegant be used instead of delicate?

Although the words elegant and delicate have much in common, elegant applies to what is rich and luxurious but restrained by good taste.

a sumptuous but elegant dining room

When is it sensible to use exquisite instead of delicate?

The synonyms exquisite and delicate are sometimes interchangeable, but exquisite implies a perfection in workmanship or design that appeals only to very sensitive taste.

an exquisite gold bracelet

When could rare be used to replace delicate?

The meanings of rare and delicate largely overlap; however, rare suggests an uncommon excellence.

rare beauty

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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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Cite this Entry

“Delicate.” Merriam-Webster.com Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/thesaurus/delicate. Accessed 20 Jan. 2021.

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More from Merriam-Webster on delicate

Dictionary: Definition of delicate

Nglish: Translation of delicate for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of delicate for Arabic Speakers

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