1) ADJ-GRADED: usu ADJ n Something that is delicate is small and beautifully shaped.

He had delicate hands. evergreen tree with large flame-coloured leaves and delicate blossom.

Derived words:
delicately ADV-GRADED ADV adj/-ed

She was a shy, delicately pretty girl with enormous blue eyes.

2) ADJ-GRADED Something that is delicate has a colour, taste, or smell which is pleasant and not strong or intense.

Young haricot beans have a tender texture and a delicate, subtle flavour...

The colours are delicate and shimmering.

Derived words:
delicately ADV-GRADED ADV -ed/adj

...a soup delicately flavoured with nutmeg.

3) ADJ-GRADED If something is delicate, it is easy to harm, damage, or break, and needs to be handled or treated carefully.

Although the coral looks hard, it is very delicate.

...a washing machine catering for every fabric - even the most delicate.

4) ADJ-GRADED: usu v-link ADJ Someone who is delicate is not healthy and strong, and becomes ill easily.

She was physically delicate and psychologically unstable.

frail, sickly
5) ADJ-GRADED You use delicate to describe a situation, problem, matter, or discussion that needs to be dealt with carefully and sensitively in order to avoid upsetting things or offending people.

The European members are afraid of upsetting the delicate balance of political interests...

This sensitive book tackles the delicate issue of adoption with care and simplicity...

She turned to Mary Ann. `This is kind of delicate. Would you excuse us for a moment?'

Derived words:
delicately ADV-GRADED ADV with v

Clearly, the situation remains delicately poised.

...a delicately-worded memo.

6) ADJ-GRADED A delicate task, movement, action, or product needs or shows great skill and attention to detail.

...a long and delicate operation carried out at a hospital in Florence...

Each motion must be delicate and precise, involving tiny movements.

Derived words:
delicately ADV-GRADED ADV with v

She picked her way delicately over the rocks.

...the delicately embroidered sheets.

English dictionary. 2008.

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Delicate — 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. [R.] [1913 Webster] Dives, for his delicate life …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • delicate — [del′i kit] adj. [ME delicat < L delicatus, giving pleasure, delightful < * delicare, for OL delicere, to allure, entice < de , intens. + lacere: see DELIGHT] 1. pleasing in its lightness, mildness, subtlety, etc. [a delicate flavor,… …   English World dictionary

  • delicate — [adj1] dainty, weak aerial, balmy, breakable, choice, delectable, delicious, delightful, elegant, ethereal, exquisite, faint, filmy, fine, fine grained, finespun, flimsy, fracturable, fragile, frail, frangible, gauzy, gentle, gossamery, graceful …   New thesaurus

  • Delicate — may refer to: Delicate (song), a 1993 single by Terence Trent D Arby featuring Des ree Delicate (album), an album by Martha The Muffins Delicate , a single by Damien Rice from the album O This disambiguation page lists articles associated with… …   Wikipedia

  • delicate — ► ADJECTIVE 1) very fine in texture or structure. 2) easily broken or damaged; fragile. 3) susceptible to illness or adverse conditions. 4) requiring sensitive or careful handling. 5) skilful; deft. 6) (of food or drink) subtly and pleasantly… …   English terms dictionary

  • Delicate — Del i*cate, n. 1. A choice dainty; a delicacy. [R.] [1913 Webster] With abstinence all delicates he sees. Dryden. [1913 Webster] 2. A delicate, luxurious, or effeminate person. [1913 Webster] All the vessels, then, which our delicates have, those …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • délicaté — délicaté, ée (dé li ka té, tée) part. passé. Un enfant trop délicaté …   Dictionnaire de la Langue Française d'Émile Littré

  • Delicāte — (Delicatemente, ital.), mit Zartheit vorzutragen …   Pierer's Universal-Lexikon

  • delicate — index destructible, impalpable, intricate, nonsubstantial (not sturdy), palatable, precarious, subtle (refined) …   Law dictionary

  • delicate — (adj.) late 14c., self indulgent, loving ease; delightful; sensitive, easily hurt; feeble, from L. delicatus alluring, delightful, dainty, also addicted to pleasure, luxurious, effeminate; of uncertain origin; related by folk etymology (and… …   Etymology dictionary

  • delicate — exquisite, dainty, rare, *choice, recherché, elegant Analogous words: delectable, *delightful, delicious: *soft, gentle, mild, lenient, balmy: ethereal, *airy, aerial Antonyms: gross Contrasted words: *coarse …   New Dictionary of Synonyms

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