Dainty means tiny, delicate, and lovely, so you could describe a little china tea set as dainty, and you could also call the tiny cakes on the little plates dainty.

The original meaning of dainty, back in the 1300s, was "choice morsel of food," and it's still used that way to talk about a delicacy or a treat. More often, dainty is used as an adjective to describe something that's delicate and lovely. It's a compliment, unless it's used sarcastically to mean "someone who acts ridiculously prissy." An example would be to say, "Sorry I hurt you when I barely brushed against you. I didn't realize you were so dainty."

Definitions of dainty

n something considered choice to eat

delicacy, goody, kickshaw, treat
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choice morsel, tidbit, titbit
a small tasty bit of food
savory, savoury
an aromatic or spicy dish served at the end of dinner or as an hors d'oeuvre
confection, sweet
a food rich in sugar
ambrosia, nectar
(classical mythology) the food and drink of the gods; mortals who ate it became immortal
gelatin, jelly
an edible jelly (sweet or pungent) made with gelatin and used as a dessert or salad base or a coating for foods
bone marrow, marrow
very tender and very nutritious tissue from marrowbones
calf's-foot jelly
a savory jelly made with gelatin obtained by boiling calves' feet
candy and other sweets considered collectively
preserved or candied fruit
a sweetened delicacy (as a preserve or pastry)
candy, confect
a rich sweet made of flavored sugar and often combined with fruit or nuts
a British sweet made with molasses and butter and almonds
chewing gum, gum
a preparation (usually made of sweetened chicle) for chewing
candied apple, candy apple, caramel apple, taffy apple, toffee apple
an apple that is covered with a candy-like substance (usually caramelized sugar)
center, centre
the sweet central portion of a piece of candy that is enclosed in chocolate or some other covering
candy containing a fruit or nut
maraschino, maraschino cherry
cherry preserved in true or imitation maraschino liqueur
colored beads of sugar used as a topping on e.g. candies and cookies
gelatin dessert
jellied dessert made with gelatin and fruit juice or water
savory jelly based on fish or meat stock used as a mold for meats or vegetables
Type of:
aliment, alimentation, nourishment, nutriment, nutrition, sustenance, victuals
a source of materials to nourish the body

adj especially pleasing to the taste

“a dainty dish to set before a kind”
pleasing to the sense of taste

adj affectedly dainty or refined

mincing, niminy-piminy, prim, twee
(used of persons and their behavior) cultivated and genteel

adj delicately beautiful

“a dainty teacup”
exquisitely fine and subtle and pleasing; susceptible to injury

adj excessively fastidious and easily disgusted

nice, overnice, prissy, squeamish
giving careful attention to detail; hard to please; excessively concerned with cleanliness

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