Cambridge Dictionaries online Cambridge Dictionaries online

The most popular online dictionary and thesaurus for learners of English

English definition of “delicate”

See all translations

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.
More examples

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 delicate matter. The pay negotiations have reached a delicate point/stage. Teachers need to strike a delicate (= carefully achieved) balance between instructing their students 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 dessert 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

comma

the symbol , used in writing to separate parts of a sentence showing a slight pause, or to separate the single things in a list

Word of the Day

Lies, lies, lies!

by Kate Woodford,
February 25, 2015
​​​ According to sociologists (=people who study the relationships between people living in groups), we are good at lying. As a species, we have developed a remarkable ability to deceive each other (= persuade each other that something false is true). Being able to say things that are not true can help with

Read More 

snapchat verb

March 02, 2015
to send someone a message using the photomessaging application Snapchat We used to have a thing until he got a girlfriend. now

Read More