adjective, dain·ti·er, dain·ti·est.

  1. of delicate beauty; exquisite: a dainty lace handkerchief.
  2. pleasing to the taste and, often, temptingly served or delicate; delicious: dainty pastries.
  3. of delicate discrimination or taste; particular; fastidious: a dainty eater.
  4. overly particular; finicky.

noun, plural dain·ties.

  1. something delicious to the taste; a delicacy.

adjective -tier or -tiest

  1. delicate or eleganta dainty teacup
  2. pleasing to the taste; choice; deliciousa dainty morsel
  3. refined, esp excessively genteel; fastidious

noun plural -ties

  1. a choice piece of food, esp a small cake or sweet; delicacy

c.1300, “excellence, elegance; a luxury,” from Old French deintie (12c.) “price, value,” also “delicacy, pleasure,” from Latin dignitatem (nominative dignitas) “greatness, rank, worthiness, worth, beauty,” from dignus “worthy” (see dignity).


c.1300, “delightful, pleasing,” from dainty (n.). Meaning evolved in Middle English to “choice, excellent” (late 14c.) to “delicately pretty.” Related: Daintiness.

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