Cambridge Dictionaries online Cambridge Dictionaries online

The most popular online dictionary and thesaurus for learners of English

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)
What is the pronunciation of delicate?
Add Cambridge dictionaries to your browser to your website

Definitions of “delicate” in other dictionaries

SMART Thesaurus: Fragile and breakable

“delicate”: synonyms and related words:

You can also find related words, phrases, and synonyms in the topics:

Word of the Day

dawn on sb

If a fact dawns on you, you understand it after a period of not understanding it.

Word of the Day

The language of work

by Kate Woodford,
October 15, 2014
Most of us talk about our jobs. We tell our family and friends interesting or funny things that have happened in the workplace (=room where we do our job), we describe – and sometimes complain about – our bosses and colleagues and when we meet someone for the first time, we tell

Read More 

life tracking noun

October 20, 2014
the use of one or more devices or apps to monitor health, exercise, how time is spent, etc.

Read More