dainty

\ \ [13] In origin, dainty is the same word as dignity. The direct descendant of Latin dignitās in Old French was daintie or deintie, but Old French later reborrowed the word as dignete. It was the latter that became English dignity, but daintie took a route via Anglo-Norman dainte to give English dainty. At first it meant ‘honour, esteem’, but before a century was up it had passed through ‘pleasure, joy’ to ‘something choice, luxury’. The first record of its adjectival use comes in the 14th century, when it meant ‘choice, excellent, delightful’; this soon developed to ‘delicately pretty’.
\ \ Cf.DIGNITY

Word origins - 2ed. . 2005.

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  • Dainty — Dain ty, a. [Compar. {Daintier}; superl. {Daintiest}.] 1. Rare; valuable; costly. [Obs.] [1913 Webster] Full many a deynt[ e] horse had he in stable. Chaucer. [1913 Webster] Note: Hence the proverb dainty maketh dearth, i. e., rarity makes a… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • dainty — [dān′tē] n. pl. dainties [ME deinte, excellent, fine, orig., feeling of esteem < Anglo Fr deinté < OFr deinté < L dignitas, worth, DIGNITY] a choice food; delicacy adj. daintier, daintiest 1. delicious and choice [a dainty morsel] 2.… …   English World dictionary

  • Dainty — Dain ty, n.; pl. {Dainties}. [OE. deinie, dainte, deintie, deyntee, OF. deinti[ e] delicacy, orig., dignity, honor, fr. L. dignitas, fr. dignus worthy. See {Deign}, and cf. {Dignity}.] 1. Value; estimation; the gratification or pleasure taken in… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • dainty — [adj1] delicate, fragile, fine airy, attractive, beautiful, bonny, charming, choice, comely, cute, darling, delectable, delicious, delightful, diaphanous, elegant, ethereal, exquisite, fair, feeble, frail, graceful, lacy, light, lovely, neat,… …   New thesaurus

  • dainty — 1 delicate, exquisite, *choice, elegant, recherché, rare Analogous words: petite, diminutive, little, *small: pretty, bonny, fair, lovely, *beautiful: *delightful, delectable, delicious Antonyms: gross Contrasted words: * …   New Dictionary of Synonyms

  • dainty — ► ADJECTIVE (daintier, daintiest) 1) delicately small and pretty. 2) fastidious and fussy when eating. ► NOUN (pl. dainties) ▪ a small appetizing item of food. DERIVATIVES daintily …   English terms dictionary

  • dainty — UK [ˈdeɪntɪ] / US adjective Word forms dainty : adjective dainty comparative daintier superlative daintiest 1) small and attractive in a delicate way dainty china cups 2) a dainty movement or action is small and graceful Mary took dainty bites… …   English dictionary

  • dainty — dain|ty1 [ˈdeınti] adj comparative daintier superlative daintiest 1.) small, pretty, and delicate ▪ a dainty gold chain ▪ a child with dainty features 2.) moving or done in a careful way, using small movements ▪ a dainty walk >daintily adv …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • dainty — {{11}}dainty (adj.) c.1300, delightful, pleasing, from DAINTY (Cf. dainty) (n.). Meaning evolved in Middle English to choice, excellent (late 14c.) to delicately pretty. {{12}}dainty (n.) c.1300, excellence, elegance; a luxury, from O.Fr. deintie …   Etymology dictionary

  • dainty — daintily, adv. daintiness, n. /dayn tee/, adj., daintier, daintiest, n., pl. dainties. adj. 1. of delicate beauty; exquisite: a dainty lace handkerchief. 2. pleasing to the taste and, often, temptingly served or delicate; delicious: dainty… …   Universalium

  • dainty — I (New American Roget s College Thesaurus) adj. delicate, exquisite; fastidious, neat; delicious. See beauty, taste, care, food. II (Roget s IV) modif. 1. [Notable for fineness or fragility] Syn. delicate, fragile, petite, frail, thin, light,… …   English dictionary for students

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