delicate (adj.)

late 14c., of persons, "self-indulgent, loving ease;" also "sensitive, easily hurt, feeble;" of things, "delightful," from Latin delicatus "alluring, delightful, dainty," also "addicted to pleasure, luxurious, effeminate," in Medieval Latin "fine, slender;" related to deliciae "pleasure, delight, luxury," and delicere "to allure, entice," from de "away" (see de-) + lacere "to lure, entice," which is of uncertain origin. Compare delicious, delectable, delight.

Meaning "so fine or tender as to be easily broken" is recorded from 1560s. Meaning "requiring nice and skillful handling" is by 1742. Sense of "exquisitely adjusted in construction" is from 1756. Related: Delicateness.

Origin and meaning of delicate

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Definitions of delicate

delicate (adj.)
exquisitely fine and subtle and pleasing; susceptible to injury;
a delicate violin passage
delicate china
a delicate flavor
the delicate wing of a butterfly
delicate (adj.)
marked by great skill especially in meticulous technique;
a surgeon's delicate touch
delicate (adj.)
easily broken or damaged or destroyed;
a kite too delicate to fly safely
Synonyms: fragile / frail
delicate (adj.)
easily hurt;
a baby's delicate skin
Synonyms: soft
delicate (adj.)
developed with extreme delicacy and subtlety;
Synonyms: finespun
delicate (adj.)
difficult to handle; requiring great tact;
delicate negotiations with the big powers
Synonyms: ticklish / touchy
delicate (adj.)
of an instrument or device; capable of registering minute differences or changes precisely;
almost undetectable with even the most delicate instruments