delicate

Delicate things, like a flower, a necklace, or someone’s feelings are fragile, easily broken, and often quite beautiful.

A delicate situation. A delicate balance. A delicate child. A delicate lace design. A delicate taste. Sometimes the word implies intricate beauty and at other times fragility. Delicate can have negative overtones: A delicate situation is a tricky one. A delicate balance describes an agreement that might turn sour any moment. A delicate child may cry easily. But delicate can also refer to things that are very lovely and hard to reproduce: a delicate lace collar on a dress stands out. A delicate flavor, like pomegranate peach mint sauce, makes salad — or vanilla ice cream — much more delicious.

Definitions of delicate
  1. adjective
    developed with extreme delicacy and subtlety
    synonyms: finespun
    refined
    (used of persons and their behavior) cultivated and genteel
  2. adjective
    marked by great skill especially in meticulous technique
    “a surgeon's delicate touch”
    Synonyms:
    skilled
    having or showing or requiring special skill
  3. 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”
    Synonyms:
    dainty, exquisite
    delicately beautiful
    ethereal, gossamer
    characterized by unusual lightness and delicacy
    fragile
    vulnerably delicate
    light-handed
    having a metaphorically delicate touch
    overdelicate
    extremely delicate
    pastel
    lacking in body or vigor
    tender
    (of plants) not hardy; easily killed by adverse growing condition
    breakable
    capable of being broken or damaged
    frail
    physically weak
    weak
    wanting in physical strength
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    Antonyms:
    rugged
    sturdy and strong in constitution or construction; enduring
    knockabout
    suitable for rough use
    sturdy, tough
    substantially made or constructed
    robust
    sturdy and strong in form, constitution, or construction
    strong
    having strength or power greater than average or expected
    tough, toughened
    physically toughened
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  4. adjective
    easily broken or damaged or destroyed
    “a kite too delicate to fly safely”
    synonyms: fragile, frail
    breakable
    capable of being broken or damaged
  5. adjective
    easily hurt
    “a baby's delicate skin”
    synonyms: soft
    tender, untoughened
    physically untoughened
  6. adjective
    of an instrument or device; capable of registering minute differences or changes precisely
    “almost undetectable with even the most delicate instruments”
    Synonyms:
    sensitive
    responsive to physical stimuli
  7. adjective
    difficult to handle; requiring great tact
    delicate negotiations with the big powers”
    synonyms: ticklish, touchy
    difficult, hard
    not easy; requiring great physical or mental effort to accomplish or comprehend or endure
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