- The definition of delicate is someone or something that is subtle, fragile, frail or a skilled example of something.
- An example of delicate is an unboiled egg.
- An example of delicate is a finally spun piece of glass.
- An example of delicate is a light and delicious cream sauce.
Eggs are delicate.
- pleasing in its lightness, mildness, subtlety, etc.: a delicate flavor, odor, or color
- beautifully fine in texture, quality, or workmanship: delicate linen, delicate skin
- slight and subtle: a delicate difference
- easily damaged, spoiled, or disordered: a delicate vase, a delicate stomach
- frail in health: a delicate child
- needing careful handling, tact, etc.: a delicate situation
- showing tact, consideration, etc.
- finely sensitive in feeling, understanding, discriminating, or responding: a delicate ear for music, a delicate gauge
- finely skilled
- having or showing a sensitive or, sometimes, finicky distaste for what is considered offensive or improper
Origin of delicateMiddle English delicat ; from Classical Latin delicatus, giving pleasure, delightful ; from an unverified form delicare, for Old Latin delicere, to allure, entice ; from de-, intensive + lacere: see delight
- Pleasing to the senses, especially in a subtle way: a delicate flavor; a delicate violin passage.
- a. Easily broken or damaged: a kite too delicate to fly.b. Exquisitely fine or dainty: delicate china. See Synonyms at exquisite.c. Frail in constitution or health.
- a. Marked by sensitivity of discrimination: a critic's delicate perception.b. Very subtle in difference or distinction.
- a. Having or showing great consideration or care: delicate remarks concerning the scandal.b. Requiring careful or tactful treatment: a delicate situation.
- Fine or soft in touch or skill: a surgeon's delicate touch.
- Measuring, indicating, or responding to very small changes; precise: a delicate set of scales.
Origin of delicateMiddle English delicat and French délicat, both from Latin dēlicātus, pleasing; akin to dēlicia, pleasure; see Delicious .
(comparative more delicate, superlative most delicate)
- Easily damaged or requiring careful handling.
- Those clothes are made from delicate lace.
- The negotiations were very delicate.
- Characterized by a fine structure or thin lines.
- Her face was delicate.
- The spider wove a delicate web.
- There was a delicate pattern of frost on the window.
- Intended for use with fragile items.
- Set the washing machine to the delicate cycle.
- Refined; gentle; scrupulous not to trespass or offend; considerate; said of manners, conduct, or feelings.
- delicate behaviour; delicate attentions; delicate thoughtfulness
- Of weak health; easily sick; unable to endure hardship.
- a delicate child; delicate health
- (informal) Unwell, especially because of having drunk too much alcohol.
- Please don't speak so loudly: I'm feeling a bit delicate this morning.
- circa 1660, John Evelyn (auth), William Bray (edit), The Diary of John Evelyn, volume I of II (1901), entry for the 19th of August in 1641, page 29:
- Haerlem is a very delicate town and hath one of the fairest churches of the Gothic design I had ever seen.
- Pleasing to the senses; refined; adapted to please an elegant or cultivated taste.
- a delicate dish; delicate flavour
- Slight and shapely; lovely; graceful.
- Light, or softly tinted; said of a colour.
- a delicate shade of blue
- Of exacting tastes and habits; dainty; fastidious.
- Highly discriminating or perceptive; refinedly critical; sensitive; exquisite.
- a delicate taste; a delicate ear for music
- Affected by slight causes; showing slight changes.
- a delicate thermometer
From Middle English delicat, from Latin delicatus (“giving pleasure, delightful, soft, luxurious, delicate, in Medieval Latin also fine, slender”), from delicia, usually in plural deliciae (“pleasure, delight, luxury”), from delicere (“to allure”), from de (“away”) + lacere (“to allure, entice”).