Definition of delicacy in English:


Line breaks: deli|cacy
Pronunciation: /ˈdɛlɪkəsi

noun (plural delicacies)

[mass noun]
1Fineness or intricacy of texture or structure: miniature pearls of exquisite delicacy
More example sentences
  • Through the whole of the present exhibition, the changing shades of sepia, their delicacy and texture, create an impression of a sadness deep as a wound.
  • The result is wines unique in the world for their combination of low alcohol (often only about eight per cent), striking aroma, high extract, and delicacy of texture.
  • The structure shimmers with delicacy, and it is still standing after 160 years.
2Susceptibility to illness or adverse conditions; fragility.
More example sentences
  • No, saris are not symbols of delicacy, of fragile femininity; of posh don't-get-your-hands dirty pettiness!
  • The chapter on the nest, its delicacy, its fragile nature and the monumental painful effort of the bird to build it is wonderful.
  • It was a dark song, with beautiful threads of delicacy and fragility weaved into both its lyrical and musical content.
3Tact and consideration: I have to treat this matter with the utmost delicacy
More example sentences
  • He unravels the tangled strands of social identity and interests that surrounded these protests with considerable delicacy and insight.
  • In his article he discusses the matter with considerable delicacy.
  • So intent are they upon handling each attendant issue with the utmost delicacy that they risk losing sight of the greater picture.
3.1The quality of requiring discretion or sensitivity: the delicacy of the situation
More example sentences
  • A topic that needs to be treated with delicacy and discretion.
  • The story of a nun and a marine could have easily become a cliché, but in their hands, it comes across with sensitivity and delicacy.
  • These two tentative explorations of gay subplots were handled with typical early-'80s delicacy and discretion.
3.2Accuracy of perception; sensitiveness.
More example sentences
  • This is one of the novels in which, with much humour and delicacy of perception, the author depicts the reaction of different personality types to the new environment.
  • Can she who professed delicacy of sentiment and sincere regard for me, use me so very basely and so very cruelly?
  • The assessment of these injuries is a highly individual matter which requires great delicacy.…
4 [count noun] A choice or expensive food: traditional Japanese delicacies
More example sentences
  • This one has mangos in all dishes from starters, soups to main course delicacies and desserts.
  • We take it for granted - rare delicacies and convenience foods from every corner of the globe without season or limit.
  • The exhibition halls will also host a food court providing delicacies from many countries.
choice food, gourmet food, dainty, treat, luxury, titbit, bonne bouche;
North American tidbit
archaic cate


late Middle English (in the senses 'voluptuousness' and 'luxuriousness'): from delicate + -acy.

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cause (someone) to lose confidence or hope