Delicate synonym

Delicate synonyms


Physically weak; frail; delicate


Responsive to external conditions or stimulation; having sensation:


(Archaic) Noble; chivalrous:


Of or showing delicate and refined taste; fastidious

in delicate health


Made free from other matter, or from impurities; purified


Characterized by a sense of propriety or refinement; impressively fastidious in manners and tastes


Full of caution; careful to avoid danger; circumspect; wary


Selected with care; well-chosen:


Having or showing regard for others and their feelings; thoughtful


(Mathematics) Of or relating to a point at which a curve has a horizontal tangent line, as at a maximum or minimum.


Giving delight; very pleasing; charming


Very beautiful or lovely, esp. in a delicate or carefully wrought way


Excessively scrupulous or sensitive, as in taste, propriety, or neatness:


Having grace, or beauty of form, composition, movement, or expression; elegant


Of, relating to, or resembling lace.


Of less than the correct, standard, or legal weight:


Giving or affording pleasure or enjoyment; agreeable:


The definition of slender is narrow in width, thin or slim in size, or having only a little force.



Not firm or strong physically; weak; feeble, as from old age


Based on uncertain, unwarranted, or unproved premises:


Possessing or exhibiting tact; considerate and discreet:


Highly gratifying to taste or smell, esp. because of a rich sweetness; delicious


The definition of mincing is the actions of someone who acts dainty or refined.


Too nice; too fastidious, precise, etc.


Showing or requiring extremely careful treatment


Light in form or build; not stout or heavy; slender


Out of condition; flabby:


Having a digestive system that is easily upset; easily nauseated; queasy


Too subtle, delicate, or refined; overnice


Gentle, mild, or light; not rough or heavy


The definition of tenuous is something long and thin, fine or flimsy.


Sensitive to touch; easily irritated, as a part of the body



(Uncountable) Skill in handling of a situation.


Fastidiousness; refinement; delicacy of taste



Acute sensitivity to what is proper and appropriate in dealing with others, including the ability to speak or act without offending.


The definition of a tidbit is a small taste or morsel of something, such as food or information.


Containing a considerable percentage of alcohol:



Weakened or worn out from age or wear


Lacking vigor or effectiveness; inadequate:


The definition of flimsy is something which is lacking in strength or thin and easily broken.


Not strong or substantial; slight:


The definition of puny is something insufficient in size or strength.


In horse management an unsound horse is one suffering ill-health that affects its suitability for its intended work.


So weak as to be difficult to perceive;


1822, T. Creevey, Reminiscences, 28 Jul:


Spun or drawn out to extreme fineness; delicate; fragile


Nearly or completely motionless; undisturbed:


Permitting an action to be performed; capable of undergoing something:


(as a pro-sentence) How beautiful that is!


1. delicate

adjective. ['ˈdɛləkət'] exquisitely fine and subtle and pleasing; susceptible to injury.

  • overdelicate
  • light-handed
  • gossamer
  • frail
  • ethereal
  • pastel
  • weak
  • dainty
  • fragile
  • tender
  • strength
  • exquisite
  • strong
  • robust
  • unbreakable
  • rugged
  • delicat (Middle English (1100-1500))
  • delicatus (Latin)

Words that Rhyme with Delicate

  • advocate
  • affricate
  • bacot
  • basket
  • becket
  • biscuit
  • blanket
  • breadbasket
  • brisket
  • bucket
  • calcutt
  • callicutt
  • casket
  • certificate
  • chilcott
  • chilcutt
  • circuit
  • conn.
  • connecticut
  • cricket

Example sentences of the word delicate

1. Noun, singular or mass
You can use dish soap or laundry detergent intended for delicate clothing.

2. Adjective
Machine dry clothing on a low temperature setting, or hang dry if material is delicate.

Quotes containing the word delicate

1. Of course it hurt that we could never love each other in a physical way. We would have been far more happy if we had. But that was like the tides, the change of seasons--something immutable, an immovable destiny we could never alter. No matter how cleverly we might shelter it, our delicate friendship wasn't going to last forever. We were bound to reach a dead end. That was painfully clear.
- Haruki Murakami, Sputnik Sweetheart

2. I'm quite obsessed with the idea of nailing the girl friendship. It's such an art, so delicate.
- Alanis Morissette

3. Hearts may break, but hearts are the toughest of muscles, able to pump for a lifetime, seventy times a minute, and scarcely falter along the way. Even dreams, the most delicate and intangible of things, can prove remarkably difficult to kill.
- Neil Gaiman, Fragile Things: Short Fictions and Wonders

2. delicate

adjective. ['ˈdɛləkət'] easily broken or damaged or destroyed.

  • unbreakableness
  • thick
  • nonhuman
  • delicat (Middle English (1100-1500))
  • delicatus (Latin)

3. delicate

adjective. ['ˈdɛləkət'] marked by great skill especially in meticulous technique.

  • delicat (Middle English (1100-1500))
  • delicatus (Latin)

4. delicate

adjective. ['ˈdɛləkət'] developed with extreme delicacy and subtlety.

  • delicat (Middle English (1100-1500))
  • delicatus (Latin)

5. delicate

adjective. ['ˈdɛləkət'] difficult to handle; requiring great tact.

  • substantial
  • earthly
  • achromatic color
  • dark
  • delicat (Middle English (1100-1500))
  • delicatus (Latin)

6. delicate

adjective. ['ˈdɛləkət'] easily hurt.

  • smart
  • infallible
  • irregular
  • delicat (Middle English (1100-1500))
  • delicatus (Latin)

7. delicate

adjective. ['ˈdɛləkət'] of an instrument or device; capable of registering minute differences or changes precisely.

  • delicat (Middle English (1100-1500))
  • delicatus (Latin)
  1. Bunkie elementary
  2. Hit and run orlando today
  3. Dual wheel puller
  4. New apartments in port jefferson
  5. P grade meaning

Frequently Asked Questions About delicate

How is the word delicate different from other adjectives like it?

Some common synonyms of delicate are choice, dainty, elegant, exquisite, and rare. While all these words mean "having qualities that appeal to a cultivated taste," delicate implies exquisiteness, subtlety, and fragility.

delicate craftsmanship

Where would choice be a reasonable alternative to delicate?

The words choice and delicate are synonyms, but do differ in nuance. Specifically, choice stresses preeminence in quality or kind.

choice fabric

In what contexts can dainty take the place of delicate?

While the synonyms dainty and delicate are close in meaning, dainty sometimes carries an additional suggestion of smallness and of appeal to the eye or palate.

dainty sandwiches

When can elegant be used instead of delicate?

Although the words elegant and delicate have much in common, elegant applies to what is rich and luxurious but restrained by good taste.

a sumptuous but elegant dining room

When is it sensible to use exquisite instead of delicate?

The synonyms exquisite and delicate are sometimes interchangeable, but exquisite implies a perfection in workmanship or design that appeals only to very sensitive taste.

an exquisite gold bracelet

When could rare be used to replace delicate?

The meanings of rare and delicate largely overlap; however, rare suggests an uncommon excellence.

rare beauty



This shows grade level based on the word's complexity.

[ del-i-kit ]

/ ˈdɛl ɪ kɪt /


fine in texture, quality, construction, etc.: a delicate lace collar.

fragile; easily damaged; frail: delicate porcelain; a delicate child.

so fine as to be scarcely perceptible; subtle: a delicate flavor.

soft or faint, as color: a delicate shade of pink.

fine or precise in action or execution; capable of responding to the slightest influence: a delicate instrument.

requiring great care, caution, or tact: a delicate international situation.

distinguishing subtle differences: a delicate eye; a delicate sense of smell.

exquisite or refined in perception or feeling; sensitive.

regardful of what is becoming, proper, etc.: a delicate sense of propriety.

mindful of or sensitive to the feelings of others: a delicate refusal.

dainty or choice, as food: delicate tidbits.

primly fastidious; squeamish: not a movie for the delicate viewer.

Obsolete. sensuous; voluptuous.


Archaic. a choice food; delicacy.

Obsolete. a source of pleasure; luxury.



We could talk until we're blue in the face about this quiz on words for the color "blue," but we think you should take the quiz and find out if you're a whiz at these colorful terms.

Question 1 of 8

Which of the following words describes “sky blue”?

Origin of delicate

1325–75; Middle English delicat<Latin dēlicātus delightful, dainty; akin to delicious

synonym study for delicate

1. Delicate,dainty,exquisite imply beauty such as belongs to rich surroundings or which needs 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 that forbid rough handling: a dainty handkerchief; of persons, it refers to fastidious sensibilities: dainty in eating habits.Exquisite suggests an outstanding beauty and elegance, or a discriminating sensitivity and ability to perceive fine distinctions: an exquisite sense of humor.




Words nearby delicate

deliberately, deliberation, deliberative, Delibes, delicacy, delicate, delicatessen, Delicia, delicious, delict, delight Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2021

Words related to delicate

rare, gentle, fragile, mild, elegant, delightful, delicious, graceful, tender, subtle, soft, exquisite, slender, sensitive, refined, critical, tricky, unpredictable, touchy, precarious

How to use delicate in a sentence

  • Worse, he said, is that he had spent years digging and rigging holes to water cattle based on where rain pools, a delicate system that would be jeopardized by trenching and construction.

    It’s His Land. Now a Canadian Company Gets to Take It.|by Lee van der Voo for ProPublica|October 1, 2020|ProPublica

  • The scenes between Johansson and Adam Pearson, a man with neurofibromatosis, are some of the most delicate and visceral this year.

    Oscars 2015: The Daily Beast’s Picks, From Scarlett Johansson to ‘Boyhood’|Marlow Stern|January 6, 2015|DAILY BEAST

  • She used electrolysis to banish the prickly hair from her delicate face.

    Inside A Finishing School for Transwomen|Sharon Adarlo|December 27, 2014|DAILY BEAST

  • It's about the delicate fabric of the universe and how our fragile insides crumble when that fabric is torn.

    Alfred Hitchcock’s Fade to Black: The Great Director’s Final Days|David Freeman|December 13, 2014|DAILY BEAST

  • For those with a predilection for immaculately fine and delicate paintings by Botticelli, his Madonna of the Book will satisfy.

    The Virgin Mary Lookbook|William O’Connor|December 7, 2014|DAILY BEAST

  • Its spine, too, “‘hubbed’ as the most prized European classics are,” is decorated with delicate gold squiggles and a star.

    Rand Paul’s Many Leather-Bound Books|Olivia Nuzzi|November 27, 2014|DAILY BEAST

  • The flowers grow in clusters from the extremities of the stalk; they are yellow externally and of a delicate red within.

    Tobacco; Its History, Varieties, Culture, Manufacture and Commerce|E. R. Billings.

  • This Captain Kirton was really the best of the Kirton bunch: a quiet, unassuming young man, somewhat delicate in health.

    Elster's Folly|Mrs. Henry Wood

  • Isabel had a glimpse of a delicate high-bred face set like a panel in a parted curtain.

    Ancestors|Gertrude Atherton

  • Indifferent health, for he was delicate too, was one of the bonds between us.

    Fifty Years of Railway Life in England, Scotland and Ireland|Joseph Tatlow

  • Not to smoke at all in the presence of a superior, is held the most delicate homage which can be paid him.

    Tobacco; Its History, Varieties, Culture, Manufacture and Commerce|E. R. Billings.

British Dictionary definitions for delicate


exquisite, fine, or subtle in quality, character, construction, etc

having a soft or fragile beauty

(of colour, tone, taste, etc) pleasantly subtle, soft, or faint

easily damaged or injured; lacking robustness, esp in health; fragile

precise, skilled, or sensitive in action or operationa delicate mechanism

requiring tact and diplomacy

sensitive in feeling or manner; showing regard for the feelings of others

excessively refined; squeamish


archaica delicacy; dainty

Derived forms of delicate

delicately, adverbdelicateness, noun

Word Origin for delicate

C14: from Latin dēlicātus affording pleasure, from dēliciae (pl) delight, pleasure; see delicious

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


Synonym delicate

Synonyms of delicate in English:


See US English definition of delicate

See UK English definition of delicate

See Spanish definition of delicado


1‘delicate embroidery’


fine, exquisite, intricate, dainty, airy, elegant, graceful

flimsy, gauzy, filmy, floaty, gossamer, diaphanous, chiffony, silky, wispy, thin, insubstantial, papery

2‘a delicate shade of blue’


subtle, soft, subdued, muted

pastel, pale, light


bold, vibrant, lurid

3‘delicate bone-china cups’


fragile, breakable, easily broken, easily damaged, frail, frangible


4‘his wife is delicate’


sickly, in poor health, unhealthy, valetudinarian, frail, feeble, weak, weakly, debilitated

unwell, infirm, ailing, poorly

Northern English informal nesh


healthy, strong, robust

5‘a delicate issue’


difficult, tricky, sensitive, ticklish, awkward, problematic, problematical, touchy, prickly, controversial, emotive, embarrassing

informal sticky, dicey

6‘the matter required delicate handling’


careful, considerate, sensitive

tactful, diplomatic, discreet, gentle, kid-glove, softly-softly


inept, clumsy, insensitive

7‘his delicate ball-playing skills’


deft, dexterous, skilled, skilful, expert, finely judged, adept, adroit, neat, slick

informal nifty

8‘Faustina's delicate palate’


discriminating, discerning

fastidious, fussy, finicky, dainty, hard to please

informal picky, choosy

British informal pernickety, faddy, faddish

North American informal persnickety

9‘a delicate mechanism’


sensitive, precision, precise, accurate, exact



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