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[deyn-tee] /ˈdeɪn ti/
adjective, daintier, daintiest.
of delicate beauty; exquisite:
a dainty lace handkerchief.
pleasing to the taste and, often, temptingly served or delicate; delicious:
dainty pastries.
of delicate discrimination or taste; particular; fastidious:
a dainty eater.
overly particular; finicky.
noun, plural dainties.
something delicious to the taste; a delicacy.
Origin of dainty
1175-1225; Middle English deinte worthiness, happiness, delicacy < Anglo-French (Old French deint(i)e) < Latin dignitāt- (stem of dignitās); see dignity
Related forms
daintily, adverb
daintiness, noun
overdaintily, adverb
overdaintiness, noun
overdainty, adjective
superdainty, adjective
undaintily, adverb
undaintiness, noun
undainty, adjective
1. fine. See delicate. 2. tender, delectable. 3. See particular. 4. overnice. 5. tidbit, sweetmeat. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for daintily
Historical Examples
  • Its windows were wide open and daintily curtained with some pretty but inexpensive material.

    The Slipper Point Mystery Augusta Huiell Seaman
  • Every thing was of the nicest material, and as daintily clean as if intended for a queen.

    Eyebright Susan Coolidge
  • She took the editorial scissors, and daintily cut off the three paragraphs from the bottom of the slip.

    The Dop Doctor Clotilde Inez Mary Graves
  • She picked up a chip of rose-colored cedar and sniffed it daintily.

    A Young Man in a Hurry Robert W. Chambers
  • On whose arrival could she set up her back, and arch her tail, and daintily tread on the same little spot?

    The Book of Cats Charles H. Ross
  • How daintily the wee dogs coquetted with what was given them!

    Walter and the Wireless Sara Ware Bassett
  • She examined her hand closely, it was beautiful, well shaped, and daintily pink.

    The Second String Nat Gould
  • He sliced it into bits, and she took them daintily from between his fingers.

    Way of the Lawless Max Brand
  • So carefully guarded and daintily taught were we from the outset.

  • Galeotto ate enormously, Cavalcanti daintily, I but little, and Bianca nothing.

    The Strolling Saint Raphael Sabatini
British Dictionary definitions for daintily


adjective -tier, -tiest
delicate or elegant: a dainty teacup
pleasing to the taste; choice; delicious: a dainty morsel
refined, esp excessively genteel; fastidious
noun (pl) -ties
a choice piece of food, esp a small cake or sweet; delicacy
Derived Forms
daintily, adverb
daintiness, noun
Word Origin
C13: from Old French deintié, from Latin dignitāsdignity
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for daintily

c.1300, "sumptuously;" late 14c., "elegantly," from dainty (adj.) + -ly (2).



c.1300, "excellence, elegance; a luxury," from Old French deintie (12c.) "price, value," also "delicacy, pleasure," from Latin dignitatem (nominative dignitas) "greatness, rank, worthiness, worth, beauty," from dignus "worthy" (see dignity).


c.1300, "delightful, pleasing," from dainty (n.). Meaning evolved in Middle English to "choice, excellent" (late 14c.) to "delicately pretty." Related: Daintiness.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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