Definitions for: Delicate

[adj] exquisitely fine and subtle and pleasing; susceptible to injury; "a delicate violin passage"; "delicate china"; "a delicate flavor"; "the delicate wing of a butterfly"
[adj] easily broken or damaged or destroyed; "a kite too delicate to fly safely"; "fragile porcelain plates"; "fragile old bones"; "a frail craft"
[adj] difficult to handle; requiring great tact; "delicate negotiations with the big powers"; "hesitates to be explicit on so ticklish a matter"
[adj] developed with extreme delicacy and subtlety; "the satire touches with finespun ridicule every kind of human pretense"
[adj] of an instrument or device; capable of registering minute differences or changes precisely; "almost undetectable with even the most delicate instruments"
[adj] marked by great skill especially in meticulous technique; "a surgeon's delicate touch"
[adj] easily hurt; "soft hands"; "a baby's delicate skin"

Webster (1913) Definition: Del"i*cate, a. [L. delicatus pleasing the senses,
voluptuous, soft and tender; akin to deliciae delight: cf. F.
d['e]licat. See Delight.]
1. Addicted to pleasure; luxurious; voluptuous; alluring.

Dives, for his delicate life, to the devil went.

Haarlem is a very delicate town. --Evelyn.

2. Pleasing to the senses; refinedly agreeable; hence,
adapted to please a nice or cultivated taste; nice; fine;
elegant; as, a delicate dish; delicate flavor.

3. Slight and shapely; lovely; graceful; as, ``a delicate
creature.'' --Shak.

4. Fine or slender; minute; not coarse; -- said of a thread,
or the like; as, delicate cotton.

5. Slight or smooth; light and yielding; -- said of texture;
as, delicate lace or silk.

6. Soft and fair; -- said of the skin or a surface; as, a
delicate cheek; a delicate complexion.

7. Light, or softly tinted; -- said of a color; as, a
delicate blue.

8. Refined; gentle; scrupulous not to trespass or offend;
considerate; -- said of manners, conduct, or feelings; as,
delicate behavior; delicate attentions; delicate

9. Tender; not able to endure hardship; feeble; frail;
effeminate; -- said of constitution, health, etc.; as, a
delicate child; delicate health.

A delicate and tender prince. --Shak.

10. Requiring careful handling; not to be rudely or hastily
dealt with; nice; critical; as, a delicate subject or

There are some things too delicate and too sacred
to be handled rudely without injury to truth. --F.
W. Robertson.

11. Of exacting tastes and habits; dainty; fastidious.

12. Nicely discriminating or perceptive; refinedly critical;
sensitive; exquisite; as, a delicate taste; a delicate
ear for music.

13. Affected by slight causes; showing slight changes; as, a
delicate thermometer.

Del"i*cate, n.
1. A choice dainty; a delicacy. [R.]

With abstinence all delicates he sees. --Dryden.

2. A delicate, luxurious, or effeminate person.

All the vessels, then, which our delicates have, --
those I mean that would seem to be more fine in
their houses than their neighbors, -- are only of
the Corinth metal. --Holland.

Synonyms: dainty, difficult, ethereal, exquisite, finespun, fragile, gossamer, half-hardy, hard, light-handed, overdelicate, pastel, refined, sensitive, skilled, soft, subtle, tender, ticklish, untoughened

Antonyms: rugged

See Also: breakable, frail, weak

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