adjective, dain·ti·er, dain·ti·est.

  1. of delicate beauty; exquisite: a dainty lace handkerchief.
  2. pleasing to the taste and, often, temptingly served or delicate; delicious: dainty pastries.
  3. of delicate discrimination or taste; particular; fastidious: a dainty eater.
  4. overly particular; finicky.

noun, plural dain·ties.

  1. something delicious to the taste; a delicacy.

adjective -tier or -tiest

  1. delicate or eleganta dainty teacup
  2. pleasing to the taste; choice; deliciousa dainty morsel
  3. refined, esp excessively genteel; fastidious

noun plural -ties

  1. a choice piece of food, esp a small cake or sweet; delicacy

c.1300, “delightful, pleasing,” from dainty (n.). Meaning evolved in Middle English to “choice, excellent” (late 14c.) to “delicately pretty.” Related: Daintiness.


c.1300, “excellence, elegance; a luxury,” from Old French deintie (12c.) “price, value,” also “delicacy, pleasure,” from Latin dignitatem (nominative dignitas) “greatness, rank, worthiness, worth, beauty,” from dignus “worthy” (see dignity).

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