American English

Definition of delicate adjective from the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary



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  1. 1easily damaged or broken synonym fragile delicate china teacups The eye is one of the most delicate organs of the body. the delicate ecological balance of the rainforest Babies have very delicate skin. a cool wash cycle for delicate fabrics
  2. 2(of a person) not strong and easily becoming sick a delicate child/constitution His health had always been delicate.
  3. 3small and having a beautiful shape or appearance his delicate hands
  4. 4made or formed in a very careful and detailed way the delicate mechanisms of a clock
  5. 5showing or needing skillful, careful, or sensitive treatment I admired your delicate handling of the situation. a delicate problem The delicate surgical operation took five hours.
  6. 6(of colors, flavors, and smells) light and pleasant; not strong synonym subtle a delicate fragrance/flavor a river scene painted in delicate watercolors
adverb He stepped delicately over the broken glass. delicately balanced flavors
See the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary entry: delicate