Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • adjective Delicately beautiful or charming and usually small.
  • adjective Delicious; tasty.
  • adjective Fastidious or finicky.
  • adjective Frail in constitution or health.
  • noun Something delicious; a delicacy.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun Worth; value; excellence.
  • noun A matter of joy or gratification; special regard or pleasure.
  • noun Pl. dainties (dān′ tiz). Something delicate to the taste; something delicious; a delicacy.
  • noun Darling: a term of fondness.
  • noun Synonyms Tidbit, etc. See delicacy.
  • Valuable; costly.
  • Exhibiting or possessing delicate beauty, or exquisite taste or skill; elegant; beautiful; neat; trim.
  • Pleasing to the palate; toothsome; delicious: as, dainty food.
  • Of acute sensibility or nice discrimination; sensitive.
  • Especially Of nice discrimination as regards taste; nice or over-nice in selecting what is preferred in any class of things, as food, clothing, etc.; hence, squeamish: as, a dainty taste or palate; dainty people.
  • Nice as regards behavior, decorum, intercourse, etc.; fastidious; hence, affectedly fine; effeminate; weak.
  • = Syn, 2. Pretty. Savory, luscious, toothsome.5 and Nice, Fastidious, etc. See nice.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun obsolete Value; estimation; the gratification or pleasure taken in anything.
  • noun That which is delicious or delicate; a delicacy.
  • noun Poetic A term of fondness.
  • adjective obsolete Rare; valuable; costly.
  • adjective Delicious to the palate; toothsome.
  • adjective Nice; delicate; elegant, in form, manner, or breeding; well-formed; neat; tender.
  • adjective Requiring dainties. Hence: Overnice; hard to please; fastidious; squeamish; scrupulous; ceremonious.
  • adjective [Obs.] to assume or affect delicacy or fastidiousness.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun obsolete Esteem, honour.
  • noun A delicacy.
  • noun Canada, Prairies and northwestern Ontario Fancy cookies, pastries, or squares served at a social event (usually plural).
  • adjective obsolete Excellent; valuable, fine.
  • adjective Delicately small and pretty.
  • adjective Fastidious and fussy when eating.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adjective especially pleasing to the taste
  • noun something considered choice to eat
  • adjective delicately beautiful
  • adjective affectedly dainty or refined
  • adjective excessively fastidious and easily disgusted

Etymologies

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Middle English deinte, excellent, excellence, from Old French deintie, from Latin dignitās, from dignus, worthy; see dek- in Indo-European roots.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Old French deintié, from Latin dignitātem.

Examples

  • Though he does not succeed in the delineation of the great and grand passions of our nature, he is very successful in the sphere of its humane and tender sentiments; and though open to criticism for the jaunty audacity with which he coins dainty sweetnesses of expression rejected by all dictionaries, and for an occasional pertness in asserting opinions of doubtful truth, he is so lovable a creature that we pardon his literary foibles as we would pardon the personal foibles of a charming companion and friend.

    The Atlantic Monthly, Volume 01, No. 01, November, 1857 A Magazine of Literature, Art, and Politics

  • At stately Augusta, where change forever has been taken in dainty sips, this is like the frat boys just showed up with a keg.

    USATODAY.com - Traditions die hard at Augusta National

  • I did her hair, soft-like, round her forehead, all in dainty curls, and just to one side of her neck I put a bunch of most beautiful purple pansies.

    The Garden Party, and Other Stories

  • In one corner the waitresses, in dainty caps and aprons, had put their heads together, and were eagerly whispering to one another whilst casting furtive looks at the small group assembled in front of one of those pretty alcoves, which, as you know, line the walls all round the big tea-room at Mathis '.

    Lady Molly of Scotland Yard

  • They were clothed in dainty muslin, three as sweet young girls as one would ever meet.

    Just Patty

  • The tea was excellent; the toast was in dainty, delicate, thin brown strips.

    Melbourne House

  • "Undreamed of!" cried Mercedes, throwing up her hands in dainty dismay.

    Chapter 5

  • "Undreamed of!" cried Mercedes, throwing up her hands in dainty dismay.

    Chapter 5, The Toil of Trace and Trail

  • Kind-hearted but rough-mannered youths, who loved Merry very much, but teased her sadly about her "fine lady airs," as they called her dainty ways and love of beauty.

    Jack And Jill

  • Kind-hearted but rough-mannered youths, who loved Merry very much, but teased her sadly about her "fine lady airs," as they called her dainty ways and love of beauty.

    Jack and Jill

Comments

New comments are temporarily disabled while we update our database.

  • Clever how weirdnet uses the word within its own definition!

    December 2, 2007

  • It seems to do that fairly frequently, I've noticed.

    December 3, 2007

  • See pair.

    December 3, 2007