• (British, America) IPA: /ˈdeɪnti/

dainty (plural dainties)

  1. (obsolete) Esteem, honour.
  2. A delicacy.
    • 1719, Daniel Defoe, Robinson Crusoe
      […] my case was deplorable enough, yet I had great cause for thankfulness that I was not driven to any extremities for food, but had rather plenty, even to dainties.
    • [A table] furnished plenteously with bread, / And dainties, remnants of the last regale.
  3. (Canada, Prairies and northwestern Ontario) A fancy cookie, pastry, or square served at a social event (usually plural).
  4. (obsolete) An affectionate term of address.
  • Russian: деликате́с

dainty (comparative daintier, superlative daintiest)

  1. (obsolete) Excellent; valuable, fine.
    • 1603, Michel de Montaigne, chapter 13, in John Florio, transl., The Essayes, […], book II, printed at London: By Val[entine] Simmes for Edward Blount […], OCLC 946730821 ↗:
      Heliogabalus the most dissolute man of the world, amidst his most riotous sensualities, intended, whensoever occasion should force him to it, to have a daintie death.
  2. Elegant; delicately small and pretty.
    • 1634 October 9 (first performance), [John Milton], H[enry] Lawes, editor, A Maske Presented at Ludlow Castle, 1634: […] [Comus], London: Printed [by Augustine Matthews] for Hvmphrey Robinson, […], published 1637, OCLC 228715864 ↗; reprinted as Comus: […] (Dodd, Mead & Company’s Facsimile Reprints of Rare Books; Literature Series; no. I), New York, N.Y.: Dodd, Mead & Company, 1903, OCLC 1113942837 ↗:
      Those dainty limbs which nature lent / For gentle usage and soft delicacy.
  3. Fastidious and fussy, especially when eating.
    • 1623, Francis Bacon, An Advertisement touching an Holy War
      They were a fine and dainty people.
    • c. 1606, William Shakespeare, “The Tragedie of Macbeth”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies: Published According to the True Originall Copies (First Folio), London: Printed by Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, OCLC 606515358 ↗, [Act II, scene iii]:
      And let us not be dainty of leave taking, / But shift away.
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