A Dictionary of the English Language
                        A Digital Edition of the 1755 Classic by Samuel Johnson
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Dainty (adjective)

View Scan · View Transcription · from page 531

View Scan · View Transcription · from page 531

Da'inty. adj. [derived by Skinner from dain, an old French word for delicate; which yet I cannot find in dictionaries.]

  1. Pleasing to the palate; of exquisite taste; delicious.

    They are all over watery; whereas an higher concoction is required for sweetness, or pleasure of taste, and therefore all your dainty plumbs are a little dry. Bacon's Natural History.

  2. Delicate; of acute sensibility; nice; squeamish; soft; luxurious; tender.

    This is the slowest, yet the daintiest sense;
    For ev'n in the ears of such as have no skill,
    Perceive a discord, and conceive offence;
    And knowing not what's good, yet find the ill.

    They were a fine and dainty people; frugal and yet elegant, though not military. Bacon's Holy War.

  3. Scrupulous; ceremonious.

                        Which of you all
    Will now deny to dance? She that makes dainty,
    I'll swear hath corns.
    Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet.

                        Therefore to horse;
    And let us not be dainty of leave-taking,
    But shift away.
    Shakespeare's Macbeth.

  4. Elegant; tenderly languishingly, or effeminately beautiful.

                My house, within the city,
    Is richly furnished with plate and gold,
    Basons and ewers to lave her dainty hands.

    Why should ye be so cruel to yourself,
    And to those dainty limbs, which nature lent
    For gentle usage, and soft delicacy?

  5. Nice; affectedly fine: in contempt.

    Your dainty speakers have the curse,
    To plead bad causes down to worse.

Sources: Bacon, Francis (396) · Davies, John (45) · Shakespeare's Macbeth (136) · Milton, John (449) · Prior, Matthew (162) · Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet (46) · Skinner, Stephen (55) · Shakespeare's Taming of the Shrew (71)

Attributes: Adjective (426) · French (385)

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Cite this page: Johnson, Samuel. "Dainty (adjective)." A Dictionary of the English Language: A Digital Edition of the 1755 Classic by Samuel Johnson. Edited by Brandi Besalke. Last modified: April 21, 2014. https://johnsonsdictionaryonline.com/dainty-adjective/.

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