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

  • noun The quality of being delicate.
  • noun Something pleasing and appealing, especially a choice food.
  • noun Fineness of appearance, construction, or execution; elegance.
  • noun Frailty of bodily constitution or health.
  • noun Sensitivity of perception, discrimination, or taste; refinement.
  • noun Sensitivity to the feelings of others; tact.
  • noun Sensitivity to what is proper; propriety.
  • noun Undue sensitivity to or concern with what may be considered offensive or improper; squeamishness.
  • noun The need for tact in treatment or handling.
  • noun Sensitivity to very small changes; precision.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun The quality of being delicate; that which is delicate. Specifically
  • noun Exquisite agreeable-ness to the sense of taste or some other sense; refined pleasantness; daintiness: as, delicacy of flavor or of odor.
  • noun Something that delights the senses, particularly the sense of taste; a dainty: as, the delicacies of the table.
  • noun 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.
  • noun That which is refined or the result of refinement, especially of the senses; a refinement.
  • noun Niceness; criticalness; equivocalness; the condition of requiring care or caution: as, the delicacy of a point or question; the delicacy of a surgical operation.
  • noun Nicety of perception; exquisite sensitiveness or acuteness, physical or mental; exquisiteness; fineness: as, delicacy of touch or of observation; delicacy of wit.
  • noun 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.
  • noun 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.
  • noun Sensitive reluctance; modest or considerate hesitation; timidity or diffidence due to refined feeling: as, I feel a great delicacy in approaching such a subject.
  • noun Tenderness, as of the constitution; susceptibility to disease; physical sensitiveness.
  • noun The quality of being addicted to pleasure; voluptuousness of life; luxuriousness.
  • noun Pleasure; a diversion; a luxury.
  • noun 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 the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

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

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

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

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

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


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  • "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 Maria Edgeworth 1808

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

    Archive 2007-03-01 2007

  • -- 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 Richard Brinsley Sheridan 1783

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

    Authentic Mexican foods delivered to your door 2009

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

    Authentic Mexican foods delivered to your door 2009

  • 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 2008

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

    The Greek Holiday Table: Recipe for Soutzoukakia/Smyrna Sausages in Tomato-Wine Sauce (Σουτζουκάκια Σμυρνέικα) Laurie Constantino 2007

  • 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 Homesick Texan 2007

  • 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 Nupur 2007

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

    Archive 2007-12-01 Laurie Constantino 2007


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