Meaning of DELICACY in English

I. ˈdelə̇kəsē, -lēk-, -si noun

( -es )

Etymology: Middle English delicacie, from delicat delicate + -cie -cy

1. obsolete

a. : the quality or state of being pleasurable or agreeable

b. : addiction to sensuous pleasure or luxury : indulgence ; also : luxurious treatment or care

c. : pleasure , gratification

2. : something that is dainty or delicate and gives uncommon pleasure ; especially : something pleasing to eat that is accounted rare or luxurious

fresh fruit in winter was once a delicacy available only to the very rich


a. : fineness or daintiness of form, texture, or constitution

the cobwebby delicacy of fine lace

the delicacy of the long filament that the silkworm spins

a slender figure of great delicacy

b. : want of vigor or robustness : susceptibility to ill-health or injury : frailty , weakness , tenderness

an appearance of overrefinement and delicacy

the delicacy of the tea rose renders it useless for northern gardens

4. : nicety, fineness, or subtle expressiveness of manipulation or touch

the delicacy of a pianist's touch


a. : precise and refined perception and discrimination

the delicacy of his taste in art

b. : extreme sensitivity : capacity for reacting to minute changes or with great precision — used chiefly of devices and mechanisms

a balance of such delicacy that moisture from the breath would activate it

the delicacy of a fine watch movement


a. : nice sensibility especially as to the decorous, honorable, modest, or kindly ; specifically : gentle consideration of the feelings of others

b. : excessive fastidiousness : squeamishness

hunger knows no delicacy

7. : the quality or state of requiring careful, precise, or tactful procedure

the delicacy of the present international situation

II. noun

: the degree of differentiation between subcategories of linguistic categories

by increase in delicacy , the primary class is broken down into secondary classes — M.A.K.Halliday

Webster's New International English Dictionary.      Новый международный словарь английского языка Webster.