• WordNet 3.6
    • adj delicate exquisitely fine and subtle and pleasing; susceptible to injury "a delicate violin passage","delicate china","a delicate flavor","the delicate wing of a butterfly"
    • adj delicate easily broken or damaged or destroyed "a kite too delicate to fly safely","fragile porcelain plates","fragile old bones","a frail craft"
    • adj delicate difficult to handle; requiring great tact "delicate negotiations with the big powers","hesitates to be explicit on so ticklish a matter","a touchy subject"
    • adj delicate developed with extreme delicacy and subtlety "the satire touches with finespun ridicule every kind of human pretense"
    • adj delicate of an instrument or device; capable of registering minute differences or changes precisely "almost undetectable with even the most delicate instruments"
    • adj delicate marked by great skill especially in meticulous technique "a surgeon's delicate touch"
    • adj delicate easily hurt "soft hands","a baby's delicate skin"
    • ***
Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
  • Interesting fact: Chocolate was introduced into the United States in 1765 when cocoa beans were brought from the West Indies to Dorchester, Massachusetts.Cocoa butter is the natural fat of the cocoa bean. It has a delicate chocolate aroma, but is very bitter tasting. It is used to give body, smoothness, and flavor to eating chocolate.
    • Delicate A choice dainty; a delicacy. "With abstinence all delicates he sees."
    • Delicate 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."
    • Delicate Addicted to pleasure; luxurious; voluptuous; alluring. "Dives, for his delicate life, to the devil went.""Haarlem is a very delicate town."
    • Delicate Affected by slight causes; showing slight changes; as, a delicate thermometer.
    • Delicate Fine or slender; minute; not coarse; -- said of a thread, or the like; as, delicate cotton.
    • Delicate Light, or softly tinted; -- said of a color; as, a delicate blue.
    • Delicate Nicely discriminating or perceptive; refinedly critical; sensitive; exquisite; as, a delicate taste; a delicate ear for music.
    • Delicate Of exacting tastes and habits; dainty; fastidious.
    • Delicate Pleasing to the senses; refinedly agreeable; hence, adapted to please a nice or cultivated taste; nice; fine; elegant; as, a delicate dish; delicate flavor.
    • Delicate Refined; gentle; scrupulous not to trespass or offend; considerate; -- said of manners, conduct, or feelings; as, delicate behavior; delicate attentions; delicate thoughtfulness.
    • Delicate 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."
    • Delicate Slight and shapely; lovely; graceful; as, “a delicate creature.”
    • Delicate Slight or smooth; light and yielding; -- said of texture; as, delicate lace or silk.
    • Delicate Soft and fair; -- said of the skin or a surface; as, a delicate cheek; a delicate complexion.
    • Delicate 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."
    • ***
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
  • Interesting fact: Women wear engagement and wedding rings on the third finger of the left hand because an ancient belief held that a delicate nerve runs directly from that finger to the heart.
    • delicate Pleasing to any of the senses, especially to the sense of taste; dainty; delicious: opposed to coarse or rough.
    • delicate Agreeable; delightful; charming.
    • delicate Fine in characteristic details; minutely perfect in kind; exquisite in form, proportions, finish, texture, manner, or the like; nice; dainty; charming: as, a delicate being; a delicate skin or fabric; delicate tints.
    • delicate Of a fine or refined constitution; refined.
    • delicate Nice in construction or operation; exquisitely adjusted or adapted; minutely accurate or suitable: as, a delicate piece of mechanism; a delicate balance or spring.
    • delicate Requiring nicety in action; to be approached or performed with caution; precarious; ticklish: as, a delicate surgical operation; a delicate topic of conversation.
    • delicate Nice in perception or action; exquisitely acute or dexterous; finely sensitive or exact; deft: as, a delicate touch; a delicate performer or performance.
    • delicate Nice in forms; regulated by minute observance of propriety, or by attention to the opinions and feelings of others; refined: as, delicate behavior or manners; a delicate address.
    • delicate Susceptible to disease or injury; of a tender constitution; feeble; not able to endure hardship: as, a delicate frame or constitution; delicate health.
    • delicate Nice in perception of what is agreeable to the senses or the intellect; peculiarly sensitive to beauty, harmony, or their opposites; dainty; fastidious: as, a delicate taste; a delicate eye for color.
    • delicate Full of pleasure; luxurious; sumptuous; delightful.
    • delicate Synonyms Pleasant, delicious, palatable, savory. Fastidious, discriminating. Sensitive.
    • n delicate Something savory, luscious, or delicious; a delicacy; a dainty.
    • n delicate A fastidious person.
    • ***
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
  • Interesting fact: Experiments conducted in Germany and at the University of Southampton in England show that even mild and incidental noises cause the pupils of the eyes to dilate. It is believed that this is why surgeons, watchmakers, and others who perform delicate manual operations are so bothered by noise. The sounds cause their pupils to change focus and blur their vision.
    • adj Delicate del′i-kāt pleasing to the senses, esp. the taste: dainty: nicely discriminating or perceptive: of a fine, slight texture or constitution: tender: frail, not robust: requiring nice handling: refined in manners: gentle, polite, considerate: luxurious
    • ***


  • Jeanne Moreau
    Jeanne Moreau
    “Acting deals with very delicate emotions. It is not putting up a mask. Each time an actor acts he does not hide; he exposes himself.”
  • Ovid
    “The sharp thorn often produces delicate roses.”
  • Evelyn Underhill
    Evelyn Underhill
    “Delicate humor is the crowning virtue of the saints.”
  • Germaine De Stael
    Germaine De Stael
    “The voice of conscience is so delicate that it is easy to stifle it; but it is also so clear that it is impossible to mistake it.”
  • Henry Wheeler Shaw
    Henry Wheeler Shaw
    “It is a very delicate job to forgive a man, without lowering him in his own estimation, and yours too.”
  • Albert Guerard
    Albert Guerard
    “Chivalry is the most delicate form of contempt.”


Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
L. delicatus, pleasing the senses, voluptuous, soft and tender; akin to deliciae, delight: cf. F. délicat,. See Delight
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
L. delicātusdeliciæ, allurements, luxury—delicĕrede, inten., lacĕre, to entice.


In literature:

He must be handled delicately, or he is spoilt.
"Hours in a Library, Volume I. (of III.)" by Leslie Stephen
My mother's health was very delicate.
"Ernest Linwood" by Caroline Lee Hentz
Morality is a delicate act of adjustment on the soul's part, not a rule or a prescription.
"Fantasia of the Unconscious" by D. H. Lawrence
The anterior or outer wall of the cavity is formed by the mantle; the posterior, inner, or visceral wall by a delicate membrane.
"Journal of the Proceedings of the Linnean Society - Vol. 3" by Various
No starch should be used in the caps or strings, and there should be no ruffles to scratch the delicate skin of the baby.
"The Mother and Her Child" by William S. Sadler
He has not given us this delicate sense of Beauty to be neglected.
"Aims and Aids for Girls and Young Women" by George Sumner Weaver
A child could actuate it, and it would print delicately a thousand envelopes an hour.
"Clayhanger" by Arnold Bennett
His whole character will be impressionable, and will respond to the most delicate touches of Nature.
"Pushing to the Front" by Orison Swett Marden
It will suit equally well the delicate young lady and the strong labourer.
"Papers on Health" by John Kirk
While young, the roots are delicate, mild, and well flavored; but, when full grown, valuable only for stock.
"The Field and Garden Vegetables of America" by Fearing Burr

In poetry:

"O hasten, 'tis our time,
Ere yet the red summer
Scorch our delicate prime,
Loved of bee, the tawny hummer.
"To Ellen, At The South" by Ralph Waldo Emerson
Take it at night to my pillow,
Kiss it before I sleep,
And again when the delicate morning
Beginneth to peep?
"The Passionate Reader To His Poet" by Richard Le Gallienne
The neighbour green casts shadows of green
On my blind;
The moss, soaked in dew,
Takes the least print
Like delicate velvet.
"Written On A Wall In Spring" by Edward Powys Mathers
Lovely one,
With delicate hands and slender feet
Like a silver pony,
Walking, flower of the world,
Thus I see you,
Lovely one.
"Lovely One" by Pablo Neruda
NOTHING is better, I well think,
Than love; the hidden well-water
Is not so delicate to drink:
This was well seen of me and her.
"The Leper" by Algernon Charles Swinburne
Then, for expressions delicate,
The tribe Levitic, imitate
Thus, when you in the pulpit stand,
Adorn'd with powder'd wig and band.
"To A Friend Going Into The Ministry" by William Hutton

In news:

As any experienced ranter can tell you, thinking about it has the unfortunate tendency of turning a good, clean rant into a muddy quagmire of fine points, conditional sentences, and digressions as delicately balanced as a Swiss watch.
The fact that aluminum cans keep beer fresher longer makes them the perfect vessel for this delicate but extremely hoppy, almost IPA-like brew that falls outside usual styles.
It will be hitting the shelves in March with a refreshed recipe, brewed with Fair Trade Certified green tea leaves, sweetened with organic stevia and infused with passion fruit and tangy hibiscus for a delicate flavor.
From farmer to consumer, logistics professionals must ensure this delicate cargo arrives quickly, and just as importantly, fresh.
The balance between keeping employees happy and saving money can be delicate.
I love gathering the delicately scented petals --pale pink, fuchsia, and white--the way some folks collect seashells.
They're glossy and golden outside, and delicate and flaky inside, with a heavenly buttery flavor.
Tuesday and her mother Woolly are delicate eaters when it comes to mint, gnawing down only about an inch a week.
Icelandic quartet Pascal Pinon make delicate, quirky and adorable acoustic folk.
Egyptian President Mohamed Morsy has won praise for his government's effort to bring about a cease-fire between Israel and Hamas, a delicate balancing act for the country's nation's first freely elected leader.
A good vintage-clothing store requires a delicate balance of quality, selection, price and idiosyncratic personnel.
WHEN NOT being breached by angry mobs, US embassies around the world continue to engage in their long, delicate traditions of public and cultural diplomacy.
"The sun's rays are drying on the delicate lip tissue," Henriksen says.
It is fawning season for Georgia's whitetails, and – at least anecdotally – the delicate, spotted newborns are scarcer than ever.
Everyone knows what pregnancy test s are used for, but you may not know that they can also detect another delicate condition – testicular cancer in men.

In science:

The delicate point is the moment of its first visit to r .
Random incidence matrices: moments of the spectral density
This implies that a delicate subtraction of the foreground emissions is required to access the extragalactic domain.
High-Redshift Galaxies: The Far-Infrared and Sub-Millimeter View
Rudelson [R] (see also [P]) previously proved by a delicate construction of a ma jorizing measure.
Coordinate restrictions of linear operators in $l_2^n$
This transduction of a nuclear spin to an electron spin is a delicate process and difficult to implement with high enough fidelity.
Prospects for a Quantum Dynamic Random Access Memory (Q-DRAM)
It is the tidal field (the outer part) that requires delicate handling.
Multiscale Gaussian Random Fields for Cosmological Simulations