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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 daintiness
Historical Examples
  • daintiness and flavor take the rank of other considerations with the French cook; with the American,—fillingness!

  • He loved the grace of them, the daintiness of their dress, the softness of their voices.

    Robert Elsmere Mrs. Humphry Ward
  • He could not but note, as he often did, the daintiness with which she accomplished the task.

    The Man Thou Gavest Harriet T. Comstock
  • She had given it the right touch of daintiness and refinement.

    Hester's Counterpart Jean K. Baird
  • But the daintiness and luxury only filled the baroness with doubts.

    The Benefactress Elizabeth Beauchamp
  • He noticed the daintiness of her profile, the placid sweetness of her face in repose.

    Spring Street James H. Richardson
  • The Upper River is like a delicate lady, clad in all daintiness, and beaming with gentle beauty.

  • Space, daintiness, simplicity—these were the first impressions.

    Flaming June Mrs. George de Horne Vaizey
  • It is not probable that either bright colours or daintiness of design would emanate from the brains of a sombre-minded people.

    The Treasury of Ancient Egypt Arthur E. P. B. Weigall
  • In spite of her daintiness, she was one who, in time of stress, could be depended on.

    Masters of the Wheat-Lands Harold Bindloss
British Dictionary definitions for daintiness


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 daintiness



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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