Origin: 1325–75; Middle English delicat Related forms
< Latin dēlicātus
delightful, dainty; akin to delicious
1. Delicate, dainty, exquisite imply beauty such as belongs to rich surroundings or which needs careful treatment. Delicate used of an object, suggests fragility, small size, and often very fine workmanship: a delicate piece of carving. Dainty in concrete references, suggests a smallness, gracefulness, and beauty that forbid rough handling: a dainty handkerchief; of persons, it refers to fastidious sensibilities: dainty in eating habits. Exquisite suggests an outstanding beauty and elegance, or a discriminating sensitivity and ability to perceive fine distinctions: an exquisite sense of humor. 2. tender, slight, weak. 5. exact, accurate. 6. critical, precarious. 7. discriminating, careful.
1, 2. coarse. 3. hard, crude.