Origin: OE. Deinie, dainte, deintie, deyntee, OF. Deintie delicacy, orig, dignity, honor, fr. L. Dignitas, fr. Dignus worthy. See Deign, and cf. Dignity.

1. Value; estimation; the gratification or pleasure taken in anything. "I ne told no deyntee of her love." (Chaucer)

2. That which is delicious or delicate; a delicacy. "That precious nectar may the taste renew Of Eden's dainties, by our parents lost." (Beau. & Fl)

3. A term of fondness.

Synonyms: Dainty, Delicacy.

These words are here compared as denoting articles of food. The term delicacy as applied to a nice article of any kind, and hence to articles of food which are particularly attractive. Dainty is stronger, and denotes some exquisite article of cookery. A hotel may be provided with all the delicacies of the season, and its table richly covered with dainties. "These delicacies I mean of taste, sight, smell, herbs, fruits, and flowers, Walks and the melody of birds." (Milton) "[A table] furnished plenteously with bread, And dainties, remnants of the last regale." (Cowper)

(01 Mar 1998)

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