- 1Very fine in texture or structure; of intricate workmanship or quality: a delicate lace shawlMore example sentences
- Your ears are connected to your nose and then to the sinuses by narrow passageways - delicate, intricate structures with a remarkable ability to recover after an infection such as a cold.
- The crinkles in the gold leaf highlight the delicate texture of lace, the mottled surface of a pine plank table, or the peeling walls.
- When at the click of a button you have the world on your screen, why bother debating the intricate and delicate fabrics our lives?
- 1.1(Of colour) subtle and subdued: delicate pastel shadesMore example sentences
- The colours are dominated by delicate pastels and powdery shades of white, sand, cream and beige.
- The brow pencil in Soft Brown is a delicate colour and blended well when it was brushed.
- The raspberry vodka is photosensitive so, in contrast to their other flavours, they bottle it in dark glass so it keeps its delicate colour.
- 1.2(Of food or drink) subtly and pleasantly flavoured: a delicate, sweet flavourMore example sentences
- A fruity, off-dry style from the southerly Pfalz region, this comparatively delicate wine has a pleasantly spicy undertone that would work brilliantly with this dish.
- Well done toast on the nose gives way to delicate strawberry and raspberry flavours with hazelnut to finish.
- The spotted crab, known for the colorful blue streaks on its shell, as well as its sweet and delicate meat, is famous.
- 2Easily broken or damaged; fragile: delicate chinaMore example sentences
- Chemicals from tobacco smoke get into your bloodstream and can damage the delicate blood vessels inside your eye.
- Mouth injuries, such as biting the inside of your lip or even brushing too hard and damaging the delicate lining inside your mouth, also seem to bring on canker sores.
- The lungs are also delicate and easily damaged if the ventilation is too aggressive.
- 2.1Susceptible to illness or adverse conditions: his delicate healthMore example sentences
- And I never did interview her because I was aware of her delicate health and I wanted to do it properly - to spend an afternoon with her.
- These are usually the more delicate plants such as Clematis viticella, which are best with an annual light prune followed by hard pruning every ten years.
- Wildlife lovers in Cheshire have drawn up plans to protect the county's animals and delicate plants from future environmental threats.
- 2.2(Of a state or condition) easily upset or affected: owls have a delicate balance with their habitatMore example sentences
- I kept it from you because I didn't want to upset you in your delicate condition.
- The wonderful team of nurses cared not only for Lydia, but the delicate state of the family at this time.
- Instead, it captures the delicate state of a country at its most vulnerable.
- 3Requiring sensitive or careful handling: delicate negotiationsMore example sentences
- Well, there s land acquisition (always an issue requiring delicate handling) and the cost of paying all those consultants.
- She never really knew how to handle delicate situations requiring tact and sincere honesty.
- Our readers have suggested the best ways to handle a delicate issue such as outlandish dressing by students in colleges.
- 3.1Tactful and considerate: a delicate approach is neededMore example sentences
- This was no simple affair of the heart, but also a decision which entailed delicate political considerations.
- Though he has a high school education, he has been trained to be a specialist here, and he considers his job as delicate as disarming a live bomb.
- There has been a really delicate approach to this matter.
- 3.2Skilful and finely judged; deft: his delicate ball-playing skillsMore example sentences
- He possesses that deft and delicate touch that can transform interesting prose into mesmerising poetry.
- He reaches out a hand and with one deft, delicate dart of the fingers rotates my book to face him.
- The ladies are developing their newly acquired skills in the delicate art of egg decoration.
- 3.3(Of an instrument) highly sensitive.More example sentences
- Maintenance instruments are so delicate they have to remain in the shop's controlled environment.
- Two antennas will allow the spacecraft to communicate with Earth in any configuration, always having the side hosting delicate instruments away from the Sun.
- They gently transferred each minuscule mite to the host bee via the most delicate instrument available: an eyelash mounted to a small stick.
noun• informal Back to top
- A delicate fabric or garment: [as modifier]: the delicates cycle of a washing machineMore example sentences
- It wasn't too long until I discovered her delicates (bras, panties, aerobic outfits, and make-up).
- Just make sure that my delicates are washed by hand.
- General sorting categories are whites, light colors, bright or deep-colored materials, permanent press, delicates, and clothes for the dry cleaners.
in a delicate condition
- • archaic Pregnant.More example sentences
- The timeline suggests, although I don't have proof, that she may have been in a delicate condition while she was at Yale.
- If it wasn't for the fact that you are in a delicate condition, I would have tickled you mercilessly for that last comment.
- To her dismay, she soon found herself in a delicate condition and was obliged to marry George.
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- Cassara took the jewel in both of her hands, holding it carefully and delicately.
- This is a very sensitive subject, and we will deal with it as delicately as possible.
- My grandfather delicately held the creature with one hand and tried to loosen the snare with the other.
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- It was fantastic and different, somehow managing to bring out the delicateness of fish and the heartiness of stew at the same time.
- They were definitely a man's step, not the same delicateness of a woman, but they were definitely muffled, it sounded like a man who naturally walked silently.
- It has a delicateness of tone that recalls Debussy.
late Middle English (in the sense 'delightful, charming'): from French délicat or Latin delicatus, of unknown origin. Senses also expressed in Middle English (now obsolete) include 'voluptuous', 'self-indulgent', 'fastidious', and 'effeminate'.