DIMENSIONS: DENOTATION / Quality
R E F E R E N C E S
Delicate adj. 1. fine in texture, quality, construction, etc. 2. fragile; easily damaged; frail. 3. so fine as to be scarcely perceptible; subtle: a delicate flavor. 4. soft or faint, as color: a delicate shade of pink. 5. exquisite or refined in perception or feeling. 6. distinguishing subtle differences; a delicate sense of smell. 7. fine or precise in action or execution: a delicate instrument. 8. requiring great care, caution, or tact: a delicate situation. 9. regardful of what is becoming, proper, etc.: a delicate sense of propriety. 10. mindful of or sensitive to the feelings of others. 11. dainty or choice, as food: delicate tidbits. 12. primly fastidious; squeamish; not a movie for the delicate viewer. 13. Obs. sensuous; voluptuous. -n. 14. Archaic. a choice food; delicacy. 15. Obs. a source of pleasure; luxury.
-Syn. 1. Delicate, Dainty, Exquisite imply beauty such as might belong in rich surroundings or need 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 which forbid rough handling; there is a connotation of attractiveness: a dainty handkerchief; of persons it refers to fastidioius sensibilities: dainty in eating habits. Exquisite suggests an outstanding beauty, daintiness, and elegance, or a discriminating sensitivity and ability to perceive fine distinctions: exquisite tact. 2. tender, slight, weak. 7. exact, accurate. 8. critical, precarious. -Ant. 1, 2. coarse. 3. hard, crude.
[Urdang, Laurence, ed. Random House Dictionary of The English Language. New York: Random House, 1968.]
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