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

  • n. The quality of being delicate.
  • n. Something pleasing and appealing, especially a choice food.
  • n. Fineness of appearance, construction, or execution; elegance: brushwork of great delicacy.
  • n. Frailty of bodily constitution or health.
  • n. Sensitivity of perception, discrimination, or taste; refinement.
  • n. Sensitivity to the feelings of others; tact: phrased the apology with delicacy.
  • n. Sensitivity to what is proper; propriety.
  • n. Undue sensitivity to or concern with what may be considered offensive or improper; squeamishness: scenes that might offend a viewer's delicacy.
  • n. The need for tact in treatment or handling: a topic of some delicacy.
  • n. Sensitivity to very small changes; precision: the delicacy of a set of scales.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. The quality of being delicate.
  • n. Something appealing, usually a pleasing food, especially a choice dish of a certain culture suggesting rarity and refinement -a Chinese delicacy
  • n. Fineness or elegance of construction or appearance.
  • n. Frailty of health or fitness.
  • n. Refinement in taste or discrimination.
  • n. Tact and propriety; the need for such tact.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. The state or condition of being delicate; agreeableness to the senses; delightfulness.
  • n. Nicety or fineness of form, texture, or constitution; softness; elegance; smoothness; tenderness; and hence, frailty or weakness
  • n. Nice propriety of manners or conduct; susceptibility or tenderness of feeling; refinement; fastidiousness; and hence, in an exaggerated sense, effeminacy
  • n. Addiction to pleasure; luxury; daintiness; indulgence; luxurious or voluptuous treatment.
  • n. Nice and refined perception and discrimination; critical niceness; fastidious accuracy.
  • n. The state of being affected by slight causes; sensitiveness.
  • n. That which is alluring, delicate, or refined; a luxury or pleasure; something pleasant to the senses, especially to the sense of taste; a dainty.
  • n. Pleasure; gratification; delight.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. The quality of being delicate; that which is delicate. Specifically
  • n. Exquisite agreeable-ness to the sense of taste or some other sense; refined pleasantness; daintiness: as, delicacy of flavor or of odor.
  • n. Something that delights the senses, particularly the sense of taste; a dainty: as, the delicacies of the table.
  • n. Pleasing fineness or refinement of detail; minute perfection in any characteristic quality, as form, texture, tint, tenuity, finish, adjustment, etc.: as, the delicacy of the skin or of a fabric; delicacy of contour; the delicacy of a thread or of a watch-spring.
  • n. That which is refined or the result of refinement, especially of the senses; a refinement.
  • n. Niceness; criticalness; equivocalness; the condition of requiring care or caution: as, the delicacy of a point or question; the delicacy of a surgical operation.
  • n. Nicety of perception; exquisite sensitiveness or acuteness, physical or mental; exquisiteness; fineness: as, delicacy of touch or of observation; delicacy of wit.
  • n. Acute or nice discrimination as to what is pleasing or unpleasing; hence, a refined perception of beauty and deformity, or the faculty of such perception; critical refinement of taste; fastidiousness.
  • n. Civility or politeness proceeding from a nice observance of propriety; the quality manifested in care to avoid offense or what may cause distress or embarrassment; freedom from grossness. as, delicacy of behavior or feeling.
  • n. Sensitive reluctance; modest or considerate hesitation; timidity or diffidence due to refined feeling: as, I feel a great delicacy in approaching such a subject.
  • n. Tenderness, as of the constitution; susceptibility to disease; physical sensitiveness.
  • n. The quality of being addicted to pleasure; voluptuousness of life; luxuriousness.
  • n. Pleasure; a diversion; a luxury.
  • n. Synonyms Daintiness, savoriness. Delicacy, Dainty, Tidbit. A delicacy is specifically something very choice for eating; it may be cooked, dressed, or in the natural state: as, his table was abundantly supplied with all the delicacies of the season; the appetite of the sick man had to be coaxed with delicacies. Dainty is a stronger word, indicating something even more choice. A tidbit is a particularly choice or delicious morsel, a small quantity taken from a larger on account of its excellence.

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

  • n. something considered choice to eat
  • n. smallness of stature
  • n. the quality of being beautiful and delicate in appearance
  • n. subtly skillful handling of a situation
  • n. lack of physical strength
  • n. refined taste; tact
  • n. lightness in movement or manner


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

Middle English delicacie, from delicat, delicate; see delicate.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle English delicacie, from Middle English delicat, from Latin delicatus


  • "Motives of delicacy, my dear Emilie," said Mrs. Somers, softening her tone, but still with an air of dissatisfaction -- "motives of delicacy, my dear Emilie, are mighty pretty sounding words; and at your age I used to think them mighty grand things; but I have long since found out that _motives of delicacy_ are usually the excuse of weak minds for not speaking the plain truth to their friends.

    Tales and Novels — Volume 06

  • The first thing you will need for this delicacy is a big bowl.

    Archive 2007-03-01

  • -- All the faults I have ever seen in my friend Faulkland seemed to proceed from what he calls the delicacy and warmth of his affection for you -- There, marry him directly, Julia; you'll find he'll mend surprisingly!

    The Rivals A Comedy

  • This particular delicacy is called the Rosca de Reyes, or "King's Cake."

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  • I like working with part spelt flour and part wheat flour with breads to get the best of both worlds: delicacy from the spelt and enough gluten to get a high rise on the finished loaf.

    Spelt White Bread | Baking Bites

  • Instead, each delicacy is divided among several small plates, which are strategically placed around the table.

    Archive 2007-12-01

  • This Texan delicacy is a cutlet of tenderized top-round beef, battered and fried in a skillet (much like fried chicken, hence the name), and served with cream gravy.

    Independence and chicken-fried steak | Homesick Texan

  • Odho is a delicacy from the Kutchi region of India ... a remarkable geographical region that is part wetland and part desert.

    Archive 2007-05-01

  • One person´s delicacy is another person´s nightmare.

    Horsing Around Down at the Carniceria

  • Because every British delicacy is a way of recycling leftovers.

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