dainty (plural dainties)
- A delicacy (in taste).
- (obsolete) Esteem, honour.
- (Canada, Prairies and northwestern Ontario) A fancy cookie, pastry, or square, typically homemade, served at a social event (usually plural).
- (obsolete) An affectionate term of address.
- (Can we find and add a quotation of Ben Jonson to this entry?)
- (obsolete) Excellent; valuable, fine.
- 1603, Michel de Montaigne, chapter 13, in John Florio, transl., The Essayes […], book II, London: […] 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.
- 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.
- Fastidious and fussy, especially when eating.
- 1623, Francis Bacon, An Advertisement touching an Holy War
- 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: […] 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.
delicately small and pretty
fastidious and fussy when eating
- “dainty” in the Canadian Oxford Dictionary, Second Edition, Oxford University Press, 2004.