1. Addicted to pleasure; luxurious; voluptuous; alluring. [R.]
Dives, for his delicate life, to the devil went. --Piers Plowman.
Haarlem is a very delicate town. --Evelyn.
2. Pleasing to the senses; refinedly agreeable; hence, adapted to please a nice or cultivated taste; nice; fine; elegant; as, a delicate dish; delicate flavor.
3. Slight and shapely; lovely; graceful; as, “a delicate creature.”
4. Fine or slender; minute; not coarse; -- said of a thread, or the like; as, delicate cotton.
5. Slight or smooth; light and yielding; -- said of texture; as, delicate lace or silk.
6. Soft and fair; -- said of the skin or a surface; as, a delicate cheek; a delicate complexion.
7. Light, or softly tinted; -- said of a color; as, a delicate blue.
8. Refined; gentle; scrupulous not to trespass or offend; considerate; -- said of manners, conduct, or feelings; as, delicate behavior; delicate attentions; delicate thoughtfulness.
9. Tender; not able to endure hardship; feeble; frail; effeminate; -- said of constitution, health, etc.; as, a delicate child; delicate health.
A delicate and tender prince. --Shak.
10. Requiring careful handling; not to be rudely or hastily dealt with; nice; critical; as, a delicate subject or question.
There are some things too delicate and too sacred to be handled rudely without injury to truth. --F. W. Robertson.
11. Of exacting tastes and habits; dainty; fastidious.
12. Nicely discriminating or perceptive; refinedly critical; sensitive; exquisite; as, a delicate taste; a delicate ear for music.
13. Affected by slight causes; showing slight changes; as, a delicate thermometer.
1. A choice dainty; a delicacy. [R.]
With abstinence all delicates he sees. --Dryden.
2. A delicate, luxurious, or effeminate person.
All the vessels, then, which our delicates have, -- those I mean that would seem to be more fine in their houses than their neighbors, -- are only of the Corinth metal. --Holland.
adj 1: exquisitely fine and subtle and pleasing; susceptible to
injury; "a delicate violin passage"; "delicate china";
"a delicate flavor"; "the delicate wing of a
butterfly" [ant: rugged]
2: marked by great skill especially in meticulous technique; "a
surgeon's delicate touch"
3: easily broken or damaged or destroyed; "a kite too delicate
to fly safely"; "fragile porcelain plates"; "fragile old
bones"; "a frail craft" [syn: fragile, frail]
4: easily hurt; "soft hands"; "a baby's delicate skin" [syn: soft]
5: developed with extreme delicacy and subtlety; "the satire
touches with finespun ridicule every kind of human
pretense" [syn: finespun]
6: difficult to handle; requiring great tact; "delicate
negotiations with the big powers"; "hesitates to be
explicit on so ticklish a matter" [syn: ticklish]
7: of an instrument or device; capable of registering minute
differences or changes precisely; "almost undetectable
with even the most delicate instruments"