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English definition of “delicate”

delicate

adjective uk   /ˈdel.ɪ.kət/ us  

delicate adjective (EASILY DAMAGED)

B2 needing careful treatment, especially because easily damaged: Peaches have delicate skins which are easily bruised. Delicate plants need to be kept in a greenhouse during the winter. delicate china Molly's health has always been delicate (= she gets sick easily). C1 needing to be done carefully: Repairing damaged nerves is a very delicate operation/process.

delicate adjective (DIFFICULT)

a delicate situation, matter, point, etc. C1 a situation. matter, etc. that needs to be dealt with carefully in order to avoid trouble or offence: I need to speak to you about a rather delicate matter. The pay negotiations have reached a delicate point/stage. Teachers need to strike a delicate (= carefully achieved) balance between instructing their pupils and letting them discover things for themselves.

delicate adjective (ACCURATE)

able to measure very small changes: Weather-forecasters have extremely delicate equipment which helps them predict what the weather is going to be like.

delicate adjective (SOFT)

B2 pleasantly soft or light: a rose with a delicate scent a delicate shade of pink We chose a delicate floral pattern for our bedroom curtains.

delicate adjective (ATTRACTIVE)

C2 having a thin, attractive shape: She folded her delicate hands on the table.
delicately
adverb uk   /-li/ us  
I thought you handled the situation very delicately (= in a way that avoided causing offence). The pudding was delicately flavoured with vanilla.
(Definition of delicate from the Cambridge Advanced Learners Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)
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SMART Thesaurus: Fragile and breakable

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