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[ik-skwiz-it, ek-skwi-zit] /ɪkˈskwɪz ɪt, ˈɛk skwɪ zɪt/
of special beauty or charm, or rare and appealing excellence, as a face, a flower, coloring, music, or poetry.
extraordinarily fine or admirable; consummate:
exquisite weather.
intense; acute, or keen, as pleasure or pain.
of rare excellence of production or execution, as works of art or workmanship:
the exquisite statues of the Renaissance.
keenly or delicately sensitive or responsive:
an exquisite ear for music; an exquisite sensibility.
of particular refinement or elegance, as taste, manners, etc., or persons.
carefully sought out, chosen, ascertained, devised, etc.
Archaic. a person, especially a man, who is excessively concerned about clothes, grooming, etc.; dandy; coxcomb.
Origin of exquisite
late Middle English
1400-50; late Middle English < Latin exquīsītus meticulous, chosen with care, orig. past participle of exquīrere to ask about, examine = ex- ex-1 + -quīrere, combining form of quaerere to seek
Related forms
exquisitely, adverb
exquisiteness, noun
overexquisite, adjective
superexquisite, adjective
superexquisitely, adverb
superexquisiteness, noun
1. dainty, beautiful, elegant, rare. See delicate. 2. perfect, matchless. See fine1. 3. poignant. 4. select, choice, precious. 6. discriminating.
1. gross. 2. ordinary. 3. dull.
Pronunciation note
The pronunciation of exquisite has undergone a rapid change from
[ek-skwi-zit] /ˈɛk skwɪ zɪt/ (Show IPA)
[ik-skwiz-it] /ɪkˈskwɪz ɪt/
with stress shifting to the second syllable. The newer pronunciation is still criticized by some, but is now more common in both the U.S. and England, and many younger educated speakers are not even aware of the older one. See harass. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for exquisitely
  • We've flavored dishes for every course of the meal with this exquisitely mouth-puckering citrus.
  • Her step was free and elastic, and her voice sounded exquisitely as she spoke.
  • At the sight that met my eyes, my blood was changed into something exquisitely thin and icy.
  • It may be true that, to a sensitive observer, there was something exquisitely painful in it.
  • Let us dwell for a moment on this exquisitely dualistic conception of the instinctive life.
  • Honey-roasted chicken becomes exquisitely tender in the smoker.
  • All are notable for their sinuous line and their exquisitely balanced composition.
  • Before they are detected, they seem exquisitely pleasing to perpetrators and victims alike.
  • On the contrary, he was exquisitely attuned to the feelings and emotions of others.
  • Our brains are exquisitely tuned to perceive, recognize and remember faces.
British Dictionary definitions for exquisitely


/ɪkˈskwɪzɪt; ˈɛkskwɪzɪt/
possessing qualities of unusual delicacy and fine craftsmanship: jewels in an exquisite setting
extremely beautiful and pleasing: an exquisite face
outstanding or excellent: an exquisite victory
sensitive; discriminating: exquisite taste
fastidious and refined
intense or sharp in feeling: exquisite pleasure, exquisite pain
(obsolete) a dandy
Derived Forms
exquisitely, adverb
exquisiteness, noun
Word Origin
C15: from Latin exquīsītus excellent, from exquīrere to search out, from quaerere to seek
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 exquisitely



early 15c., "carefully selected," from Latin exquisitus "carefully sought out," thus, "choice," from past participle of exquirere "search out thoroughly," from ex- "out" (see ex-) + quaerere "to seek" (see query (v.)).

Of any thing (good or bad, torture as well as art) brought to a highly wrought condition, sometimes shading into disapproval. A vogue word 15c.-18c., given wide extensions of meaning, none of which survives. The main modern sense of "of consummate and delightful excellence" is first attested 1579, in Lyly's "Euphues." Related: Exquisitely; exquisiteness. The noun meaning "a dandy, fop" is from 1819.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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exquisitely in Medicine

exquisite ex·qui·site (ěk'skwĭ-zĭt, ĭk-skwĭz'ĭt)
Extremely intense, keen, or sharp. Used of pain or tenderness.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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