noun, plural del·i·ca·cies.
- fineness of texture, quality, etc.; softness; daintiness: the delicacy of lace.
- something delightful or pleasing, especially a choice food considered with regard to its rarity, costliness, or the like: Caviar is a great delicacy.
- the quality of being easily broken or damaged; fragility.
- the quality of requiring or involving great care or tact: negotiations of great delicacy.
- extreme sensitivity; precision of action or operation; minute accuracy: the delicacy of a skillful surgeon’s touch; a watch mechanism of unusual delicacy.
- fineness of perception or feeling; sensitiveness: the delicacy of the pianist’s playing.
- fineness of feeling with regard to what is fitting, proper, etc.: Delicacy would not permit her to be rude.
- sensitivity with regard to the feelings of others: She criticized him with such delicacy that he was not offended.
- bodily weakness; liability to sickness; frailty.
- Linguistics. (especially in systemic linguistics) the degree of minuteness pursued at a given stage of analysis in specifying distinctions in linguistic description.
- Obsolete. sensuous indulgence; luxury.
noun plural -cies
- fine or subtle quality, character, construction, etcdelicacy of craftsmanship
- fragile, soft, or graceful beauty
- something that is considered choice to eat, such as caviar
- fragile construction or constitution; frailty
- refinement of feeling, manner, or appreciationthe delicacy of the orchestra’s playing
- fussy or squeamish refinement, esp in matters of taste, propriety, etc
- need for tactful or sensitive handling
- accuracy or sensitivity of response or operation, as of an instrument
- (in systemic grammar) the level of detail at which a linguistic description is made; the degree of fine distinction in a linguistic description
- obsolete gratification, luxury, or voluptuousness
late 14c., “delightfulness; fastidiousness; quality of being addicted to sensuous pleasure,” from delicate + -cy. Meaning “fineness, softness, tender loveliness” is from 1580s; that of “weakness of constitution” is from 1630s. Meaning “fine food, a dainty viand” is from early 15c.