Definition of dainty in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈdeɪnti/

adjective (daintier, daintiest)

1Delicately small and pretty: a dainty lace handkerchief the china cup seemed too dainty in his large hands
More example sentences
  • Carefully she pulled the dress over her undergarments, and lightly slid her feet into the dainty shoes that her mother had once bought her.
  • In the medieval ages, knights displayed dainty handkerchiefs given to them by their lady-love.
  • Katrina held up a light blue diamond flower, which hung delicately from a dainty chain.
1.1(Of a person) delicate and graceful in build or movement: he is one of the daintiest players in the game
More example sentences
  • Mona always said that she was fat, when in reality, she was dainty with a slight build.
  • She is dainty and makes people feel protective of her.
  • At first I had named her for the little bird because she was so dainty; then I found out her other virtue and her name applied even better.
delicate, neat, refined, tasteful, fine, elegant, exquisite;
graceful, petite, slight, slim, trim, pretty
British informal dinky
1.2(Of food) particularly good to eat and served in a small portion: a dainty morsel
More example sentences
  • I sipped pink punch, ate dainty sugar cakes with strawberries on top, and stayed at Tom's side every moment.
  • The ability to cut very thin bread was greatly prized and dainty bread and butter was often served for afternoon tea.
  • Now is the chance to prove to your acquaintances that the days of small cucumber sandwiches and dainty cakes have not gone for good!
tasty, delicious, choice, palatable, luscious, mouth-watering, delectable, toothsome, succulent, juicy;
appetizing, inviting, tempting
informal scrumptious, yummy, scrummy, finger-licking, moreish
literary ambrosial
2Fastidious, especially concerning food: a dainty appetite
More example sentences
  • I rang up Luke to ask if I was being too dainty in thinking it ghoulish to market a film of somebody contracting a deadly disease.
  • Major news outlets are hardly inclined to be up in arms about the government's record of deception when they remain so dainty about critiquing their own.
  • Apparently, some dainty fans' feelings were so very hurt.
fastidious, fussy, hard to please, finicky, finical, faddish, squeamish;
refined, particular, discriminating, discerning, critical, exacting, demanding, scrupulous, meticulous, careful, cautious
informal choosy, pernickety, picky
British informal faddy
archaic nice

noun (plural dainties)

Something good to eat; a delicacy: home-made breads, jams, and dainties
More example sentences
  • Still lifes usually show beautiful vessels filled with wine and appetizing fruit or other dainties invitingly arranged on lovely china.
  • They had not found a real place in a set meal, except among the miscellaneous sweetmeats offered as dainties at the end.
  • We feasted on shrimp, crawfish, pralines, and other dainties.
delicacy, tasty morsel, titbit, fancy, luxury, treat, nibble, savoury, appetizer, bonne bouche, confection, bonbon;
North American  tidbit
informal goody
archaic sweetmeat



Pronunciation: /ˈdeɪntɪli/
Example sentences
  • This is a place to giggle quietly, nibble daintily and sip tea.
  • I find her at a table with her family, daintily slurping up pasta.
  • Yellow-dyed sparkling wine was on offer in plastic glasses daintily adorned with coloured ribbon.


Pronunciation: /ˈdeɪntɪnəs/
Example sentences
  • If the council's paternalistic tradition is one cause of this seemingly excessive moral daintiness, then so too are the city's religious leanings.
  • I'm not a big person, mind you, but next to her daintiness I'm a clodhopper with elephantiasis.
  • And then he compounded that mistake by eating it with excessive daintiness.


Middle English (as noun): from Old French daintie, deintie 'choice morsel, pleasure', from Latin dignitas 'worthiness or beauty', from dignus 'worthy'.

Words that rhyme with dainty


For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: dainty

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