Meaning of delicacy

del•i•ca•cy

Pronunciation: (del'i-ku-sē), [key]
— pl. -cies.
  1. fineness of texture, quality, etc.; softness; daintiness: the delicacy of lace.
  2. something delightful or pleasing, esp. a choice food considered with regard to its rarity, costliness, or the like: Caviar is a great delicacy.
  3. the quality of being easily broken or damaged; fragility.
  4. the quality of requiring or involving great care or tact: negotiations of great delicacy.
  5. extreme sensitivity; precision of action or operation; minute accuracy: the delicacy of a skillful surgeon's touch; a watch mechanism of unusual delicacy.
  6. fineness of perception or feeling; sensitiveness: the delicacy of the pianist's playing.
  7. fineness of feeling with regard to what is fitting, proper, etc.: Delicacy would not permit her to be rude.
  8. sensitivity with regard to the feelings of others: She criticized him with such delicacy that he was not offended.
  9. bodily weakness; liability to sickness; frailty.
  10. (esp. in systemic linguistics) the degree of minuteness pursued at a given stage of analysis in specifying distinctions in linguistic description.
  11. sensuous indulgence; luxury.
Random House Unabridged Dictionary, Copyright © 1997, by Random House, Inc., on Infoplease.
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