Definition of dainty in English:


Line breaks: dainty
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!

noun (plural dainties)

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More 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.


More 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'.

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