Definitions

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

  • adjective Characterized by highly skilled or intricate art; excellently made or formed.
  • adjective Extremely or delightfully beautiful:
  • adjective Excellent or outstanding, especially by exhibiting or appealing to refined taste.
  • adjective Extremely subtle or precise.
  • adjective Intense; keen.
  • adjective Obsolete Ingeniously devised or thought out.
  • noun One who is excessively fastidious in dress, manners, or taste.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • Exceedingly choice, elegant, fine, or dainty; very delightful, especially from delicacy of beauty or perfection of any kind: as, a vase of exquisite workmanship; an exquisite miniature; exquisite lace.
  • Very accurate, delicate, or nice in action or function; especially, of keen or delicate perception or discrimination; delicately discriminating: as, exquisite taste, etc.
  • Giving or susceptible of pleasure or pain in the highest degree; intense; keen; poignant: as, exquisite joy or torture; an exquisite sensibility.
  • Curious; careful.
  • Skilful; cunning; consummate.
  • Recondite; deep. Sir T. Elyot, The Governour, i. 10.
  • noun A superfine gentleman; a dandy; a fop; a coxcomb.
  • noun Synonyms Fop, Dandy, etc. See coxcomb.

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

  • adjective Carefully selected or sought out; hence, of distinguishing and surpassing quality; exceedingly nice; delightfully excellent; giving rare satisfaction.
  • adjective Exceeding; extreme; keen; -- used in a bad or a good sense.
  • adjective Of delicate perception or close and accurate discrimination; not easy to satisfy; exact; nice; fastidious.
  • noun One who manifests an exquisite attention to external appearance; one who is overnice in dress or ornament; a fop; a dandy.

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

  • adjective Especially fine or pleasing; exceptional.
  • adjective obsolete Carefully adjusted; precise; accurate; exact.
  • adjective Recherché; far-fetched; abstruse.
  • adjective Of special beauty or rare excellence.

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

  • adjective delicately beautiful
  • adjective lavishly elegant and refined
  • adjective of extreme beauty
  • adjective intense or sharp

Etymologies

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

[Middle English exquisit, carefully chosen, from Latin exquīsītus, past participle of exquīrere, to search out : ex-, ex- + quaerere, to seek.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Latin exquīsītus, perfect passive participle of exquīrō ("seek out").

Examples

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  • "And I realised that it was for herself that she obeyed these canons in accordance with which she dressed, as though yielding to a superior wisdom of which she herself was the high priestess: for if it should happen that, feeling too warm, she threw open or even took off altogether and gave me to carry the jacket which she had intended to keep buttoned up, I would discover in the blouse beneath it a thousand details of execution which had had every chance of remaining unobserved, like those parts of an orchestral score to which the composer has devoted infinite labour although they may never reach the ears of the public: or, in the sleeves of the jacket that lay folded across my arm I would see, and would lengthily gaze at, for my own pleasure or from affection for its wearer, some exquisite detail, a deliciously tinted strap, a lining of mauve satinette which, ordinarily concealed from every eye, was yet just as delicately fashioned as the outer parts, like those Gothic carvings on a cathedral, hidden on the inside of a balustrade eighty feet from the ground, as perfect as the bas-reliefs over the main porch, and yet never seen by any living man until, happening to pass that way upon his travels, an artist obtains leave to climb up there among them, to stroll in the open air, overlooking the whole town, between the soaring towers."

    -- Within a Budding Grove by Marcel Proust, translated by C.K. Scott Moncrieff and Terence Kilmartin, Revised by D.J. Enright, pp 293-294 of the Modern Library paperback edition

    April 26, 2008

  • Often followed by the word corpse.

    April 26, 2008

  • Especially in songs.

    April 26, 2008

  • "exquisite dead guy, rotating in his display case"

    I like exquisite because it defines the way it sounds. The "quis" just has a sort of crescendo to it that is almost too much.

    January 17, 2009

  • "The other musician, he who was delighting me at the moment, Wagner, retrieving some exquisite fragment from a drawer of his writing-table to introduce it, as a retrospectively necessary theme, into a work he had not even thought of at the time he composed it, then having composed a first mythological opera, and a second, and afterwards others still, and perceiving all of a sudden that he had written a tetralogy, must have felt something of the same exhilaration as Balzac when the latter, casting over his books the eye at once of a stranger and of a father, finding in one the purity of Raphael, in another the simplicity of the Gospel, suddenly decided, shedding a retrospective illumination upon them, that they would be better brought together in a cycle in which the same characters would reappear, and touched up his work with a swift brush-stroke, the last and the most sublime."

    --The Captive & The Fugitive by Marcel Proust, translated by C.K. Scott Moncrieff and Terence Kilmartin, revised by D.J. Enright, p 205 of the Modern Library paperback edition

    January 8, 2010

  • "I had barely time to make out, being separated from them by the glass of the car as effectively as I should have been by that of my bedroom window, a young fruit-seller, or a dairymaid, standing in the doorway of her shop, illuminated by the sunshine like a heroine whom my desire was sufficient to launch upon exquisite adventures, on the threshold of a romance which I should never know."

    --The Captive & The Fugitive by Marcel Proust, translated by C.K. Scott Moncrieff and Terence Kilmartin, revised by D.J. Enright, p 216 of the Modern Library paperback edition

    January 11, 2010

  • "Our shadows, now parallel, now close together and joined, traced an exquisite pattern at our feet."

    --The Captive & The Fugitive by Marcel Proust, translated by C.K. Scott Moncrieff and Terence Kilmartin, revised by D.J. Enright, p 227 of the Modern Library paperback edition

    January 11, 2010

  • "The cellist was hunched over the instrument which he clutched between his knees, his head bowed forward, his coarse features assuming an involuntary expression of disgust at the more mannerist moments; another leaned over his double bass, fingering it with the same domestic patience with which he might have peeled a cabbage, while by his side the harpist, a mere child in a short skirt, framed behind the diagonal rays of her golden quadrilateral, recalling those which, in the magic chamber of a sibyl, arbitrarily denote the ether according to the traditional forms, seemed to be picking out exquisite sounds here and there at designated points, just as though, a tiny allegorical goddess poised before the golden trellis of the heavenly vault, she were gathering, one by one, its stars."

    --The Captive & The Fugitive by Marcel Proust, translated by C.K. Scott Moncrieff and Terence Kilmartin, revised by D.J. Enright, p 334 of the Modern Library paperback edition

    January 20, 2010

  • "But very soon, the triumphant motif of the bells having been banished, dispersed by others, I succumbed once again to the music; and I began to realise that if, in the body of this septet, different elements presented themselves one after another to combine at the close, so also Vinteuil's sonata and, as I later discovered, his other works as well, had been no more than timid essays, exquisite but very slight, beside the triumphal and consummate masterpiece now being revealed to me."

    --The Captive & The Fugitive by Marcel Proust, translated by C.K. Scott Moncrieff and Terence Kilmartin, revised by D.J. Enright, p 335 of the Modern Library paperback edition

    January 20, 2010

  • "It is indeed probable that for Albertine, even if they had been true, even if she had admitted them, her own misdeeds (whether her conscience had thought them innocent or reprehensible, whether her sensuality had found them exquisite or somewhat insipid) would not have been accompanied by that inexpressible sense of horror from which I was unable to detach them."

    --The Captive & The Fugitive by Marcel Proust, translated by C.K. Scott Moncrieff and Terence Kilmartin, revised by D.J. Enright, p 697 of the Modern Library paperback edition

    February 16, 2010