Dictionary > Delicate


1. Addicted to pleasure; luxurious; voluptuous; alluring. Dives, for his delicate life, to the devil went. (Piers Plowman) Haarlem is a very delicate town. (Evelyn)
2. Pleasing to the senses; refinedly; hence, adapted to please a nice or cultivated taste; nice; fine; elegant; as, a delicate dish; delicate flavor.
3. Slight and shapely; lovely; graceful; as, a delicate creature.
4. Fine or slender; minute; not coarse; said of a thread, or the like; as, delicate cotton.
5. Slight or smooth; light and yielding; said of texture; as, delicate lace or silk.
6. Soft and fair; said of the skin or a surface; as, a delicate cheek; a delicate complexion.
7. Light, or softly tinted; said of a colour; as; as, a delicate blue.
8. Refined; gentle; scrupulous not to trespass or offend; considerate; said of manners, conduct, or feelings; as, delicate behavior; delicate attentions; delicate thoughtfulness.
9. Tender; not able to endure hardship; feeble; frail; effeminate; said of constitution, health, etc.; as, a delicate child; delicate health. A delicate and tender prince. (Shak)
10. Requiring careful handling; not to be rudely or hastily dealt with; nice; critical; as, a delicate subject or question. There are some things too delicate and too sacred to be handled rudely without injury to truth. (f. W. Robertson)
11. Of exacting tastes and habits; dainty; fastidious.
12. Nicely discriminating or perceptive; refinedly critical; sensitive; exquisite; as, a delicate taste; a delicate ear for music.
13. Affected by slight causes; showing slight changes; as, a delicate thermometer.
Origin: L. Delicatus pleasing the senses, voluptuous, soft and tender; akin to deliciae delight: cf. F. Delicat. See Delight.

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