Definitions for delicateˈdɛl ɪ kɪt

This page provides all possible meanings and translations of the word delicate

Random House Webster's College Dictionary

del•i•cate*ˈdɛl ɪ kɪt(adj.)

  1. fine in texture, quality, construction, etc.

  2. fragile; easily damaged; frail.

  3. so fine as to be scarcely perceptible; subtle:

    a delicate flavor.

  4. soft or faint, as color.

  5. fine or precise in action or execution:

    a delicate performance.

  6. requiring great care, caution, or tact:

    a delicate situation.

  7. capable of distinguishing subtle differences:

    a delicate sense of smell.

  8. regardful of what is becoming or proper:

    a delicate sense of propriety.

  9. choice:

    delicate tidbits.

  10. squeamish:

    not a movie for the delicate viewer.

  11. Obs. sensuous; voluptuous.

* Syn: delicate , dainty , exquisite imply beauty or subtle refinement such as might belong in rich surroundings. delicate suggests something fragile, soft, light, or fine: a delicate carving. dainty suggests a smallness, gracefulness, and beauty that forbids rough handling: a dainty handkerchief; of persons, it refers to fastidious sensibilities: a dainty eater. exquisite suggests an outstanding beauty and elegance that appeals to the most refined taste: an exquisite diamond ring.

Origin of delicate:

1325–75; ME delicat < L dēlicātus luxury-loving, delicate


Princeton's WordNet

  1. delicate(adj)

    exquisitely fine and subtle and pleasing; susceptible to injury

    "a delicate violin passage"; "delicate china"; "a delicate flavor"; "the delicate wing of a butterfly"

  2. delicate(adj)

    marked by great skill especially in meticulous technique

    "a surgeon's delicate touch"

  3. delicate, fragile, frail(adj)

    easily broken or damaged or destroyed

    "a kite too delicate to fly safely"; "fragile porcelain plates"; "fragile old bones"; "a frail craft"

  4. delicate, soft(adj)

    easily hurt

    "soft hands"; "a baby's delicate skin"

  5. finespun, delicate(adj)

    developed with extreme delicacy and subtlety

    "the satire touches with finespun ridicule every kind of human pretense"

  6. delicate, ticklish, touchy(adj)

    difficult to handle; requiring great tact

    "delicate negotiations with the big powers";"hesitates to be explicit on so ticklish a matter"; "a touchy subject"

  7. delicate(adj)

    of an instrument or device; capable of registering minute differences or changes precisely

    "almost undetectable with even the most delicate instruments"

Kernerman English Learner's Dictionary

  1. delicate(adjective)ˈdɛl ɪ kɪt

    easily damaged or ruined; = fragile

    made of delicate etched glass; her soft delicate skin; the delicate balance of the ecosystem

  2. delicateˈdɛl ɪ kɪt

    needing to be done with care

    delicate negotiations

  3. delicateˈdɛl ɪ kɪt

    small and beautifully formed

    a delicate flower

  4. delicateˈdɛl ɪ kɪt

    (of a smell, flavor, or color) pleasant and not too strong

    a fruit with a sweet, but delicate taste; a situation that must be handled delicately; delicately carved figures; a delicately balanced negotiation


  1. delicate(Noun)

    A delicate item of clothing, especially underwear or lingerie.

    Don't put that in with your jeans: it's a delicate!

  2. delicate(Noun)

    A choice dainty; a delicacy.

    With abstinence all delicates he sees. uE000104742uE001 Dryden.

  3. delicate(Noun)

    A delicate, luxurious, or effeminate person.

    All the vessels, then, which our delicates have, uE000104743uE001 those I mean that would seem to be more fine in their houses than their neighbours, uE000104744uE001 are only of the Corinth metal. uE000104745uE001 Holland.

  4. delicate(Adjective)

    Easily damaged or requiring careful handling.

  5. delicate(Adjective)

    Characterized by a fine structure or thin lines.

  6. delicate(Adjective)

    Intended for use with fragile items.

    Set the washing machine to the delicate cycle

  7. delicate(Adjective)

    Of weak health, easily sick.

  8. delicate(Adjective)

    Unwell, especially because of having drunk too much alcohol.

    Please don't speak so loudly - I'm feeling a bit delicate this morning

Webster Dictionary

  1. Delicate(adj)

    addicted to pleasure; luxurious; voluptuous; alluring

  2. Delicate(adj)

    pleasing to the senses; refinedly agreeable; hence, adapted to please a nice or cultivated taste; nice; fine; elegant; as, a delicate dish; delicate flavor

  3. Delicate(adj)

    slight and shapely; lovely; graceful; as, "a delicate creature."

  4. Delicate(adj)

    fine or slender; minute; not coarse; -- said of a thread, or the like; as, delicate cotton

  5. Delicate(adj)

    slight or smooth; light and yielding; -- said of texture; as, delicate lace or silk

  6. Delicate(adj)

    soft and fair; -- said of the skin or a surface; as, a delicate cheek; a delicate complexion

  7. Delicate(adj)

    light, or softly tinted; -- said of a color; as, a delicate blue

  8. Delicate(adj)

    refined; gentle; scrupulous not to trespass or offend; considerate; -- said of manners, conduct, or feelings; as, delicate behavior; delicate attentions; delicate thoughtfulness

  9. Delicate(adj)

    tender; not able to endure hardship; feeble; frail; effeminate; -- said of constitution, health, etc.; as, a delicate child; delicate health

  10. Delicate(adj)

    requiring careful handling; not to be rudely or hastily dealt with; nice; critical; as, a delicate subject or question

  11. Delicate(adj)

    of exacting tastes and habits; dainty; fastidious

  12. Delicate(adj)

    nicely discriminating or perceptive; refinedly critical; sensitive; exquisite; as, a delicate taste; a delicate ear for music

  13. Delicate(adj)

    affected by slight causes; showing slight changes; as, a delicate thermometer

  14. Delicate(noun)

    a choice dainty; a delicacy

  15. Delicate(noun)

    a delicate, luxurious, or effeminate person

British National Corpus

  1. Adjectives Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'delicate' in Adjectives Frequency: #676

Translations for delicate

Kernerman English Multilingual Dictionary


requiring special treatment or careful handling

delicate china; a delicate situation/problem.

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