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delicacy

[del-i-kuh-see] /ˈdɛl ɪ kə si/
noun, plural delicacies.
1.
fineness of texture, quality, etc.; softness; daintiness:
the delicacy of lace.
2.
something delightful or pleasing, especially a choice food considered with regard to its rarity, costliness, or the like:
Caviar is a great delicacy.
3.
the quality of being easily broken or damaged; fragility.
4.
the quality of requiring or involving great care or tact:
negotiations of great delicacy.
5.
extreme sensitivity; precision of action or operation; minute accuracy:
the delicacy of a skillful surgeon's touch; a watch mechanism of unusual delicacy.
6.
fineness of perception or feeling; sensitiveness:
the delicacy of the pianist's playing.
7.
fineness of feeling with regard to what is fitting, proper, etc.:
Delicacy would not permit her to be rude.
8.
sensitivity with regard to the feelings of others:
She criticized him with such delicacy that he was not offended.
9.
bodily weakness; liability to sickness; frailty.
10.
Linguistics. (especially in systemic linguistics) the degree of minuteness pursued at a given stage of analysis in specifying distinctions in linguistic description.
11.
Obsolete. sensuous indulgence; luxury.
Origin
1325-1375
1325-75; Middle English delicasie. See delicate, -cy
Related forms
hyperdelicacy, noun
Synonyms
5. sensitivity, discrimination; prudence, consideration, circumspection.
Antonyms
1, 6. coarseness.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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British Dictionary definitions for hyperdelicacy

delicacy

/ˈdɛlɪkəsɪ/
noun (pl) -cies
1.
fine or subtle quality, character, construction, etc: delicacy of craftsmanship
2.
fragile, soft, or graceful beauty
3.
something that is considered choice to eat, such as caviar
4.
fragile construction or constitution; frailty
5.
refinement of feeling, manner, or appreciation: the delicacy of the orchestra's playing
6.
fussy or squeamish refinement, esp in matters of taste, propriety, etc
7.
need for tactful or sensitive handling
8.
accuracy or sensitivity of response or operation, as of an instrument
9.
(in systemic grammar) the level of detail at which a linguistic description is made; the degree of fine distinction in a linguistic description
10.
(obsolete) gratification, luxury, or voluptuousness
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin and History for hyperdelicacy

delicacy

n.

late 14c., "delightfulness; fastidiousness; quality of being addicted to sensuous pleasure," from delicate + -cy. Meaning "fineness, softness, tender loveliness" is from 1580s; that of "weakness of constitution" is from 1630s. Meaning "fine food, a dainty viand" is from early 15c.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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