1. [ adjective ] exquisitely fine and subtle and pleasing; susceptible to injury

"a delicate violin passage" "delicate china" "a delicate flavor" "the delicate wing of a butterfly"

Related terms: rugged subtle fragile ethereal dainty pastel tender light-handed half-hardy half-hardy overdelicate weak frail breakable strength
2. [ adjective ] marked by great skill especially in meticulous technique

"a surgeon's delicate touch"

Related terms: skilled
3. [ adjective ] easily broken or damaged or destroyed
Synonyms: fragile frail

"a kite too delicate to fly safely" "fragile porcelain plates" "fragile old bones" "a frail craft"

Related terms: breakable
4. [ adjective ] developed with extreme delicacy and subtlety
Synonyms: finespun

"the satire touches with finespun ridicule every kind of human pretense"

Related terms: refined
5. [ adjective ] difficult to handle; requiring great tact
Synonyms: ticklish

"delicate negotiations with the big powers" "hesitates to be explicit on so ticklish a matter"

Related terms: difficult
6. [ adjective ] easily hurt
Synonyms: soft

"soft hands" "a baby's delicate skin"

Related terms: tender
7. [ adjective ] of an instrument or device; capable of registering minute differences or changes precisely

"almost undetectable with even the most delicate instruments"

Related terms: sensitive
Similar spelling:   delicately