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dainty (plural dainties)
- A delicacy (in taste).
- 1791, Homer; W[illiam] Cowper, transl., “[The Odyssey.] Book I.”, in The Iliad and Odyssey of Homer, Translated into Blank Verse, […], volume II, London: […] J[oseph] Johnson, […], OCLC 779243096, lines 172 and 174–177, page 9:
- And now a maiden […] ſupplied them, next, / With a reſplendent table, which the chaſte / Directreſs of the ſtores furniſh'd with bread / And dainties, remnants of the laſt regale.
- (obsolete) Esteem, honour.
- (Canadian prairies, Northwestern Ontario, usually in the plural) A fancy cookie, pastry, or square, frequently homemade, served at a social event.
- (obsolete) An affectionate term of address.
- (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.
- 1622 (date written), Francis [Bacon], “An Advertisement Touching an Holy VVarre. […]”, in William Rawley, editor, Certaine Miscellany VVorks of the Right Honourable Francis Lo. Verulam, Viscount S. Alban. […], London: […] I. Hauiland for Humphrey Robinson, […], published 1629, OCLC 557721855, page 104:
- As for thoſe People of the Eaſt, (Goa, Calecute, Malaca,) they vvere a Fine, and Dainty People; Frugall, and yet Elegant, though not Militar.
- 1634 October 9 (first performance), [John Milton], H[enry] Lawes, editor, A Maske Presented at Ludlow Castle, 1634: […] [Comus], London: […] [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.
- 1897 December (indicated as 1898), Winston Churchill, chapter I, in The Celebrity: An Episode, New York, N.Y.: The Macmillan Company; London: Macmillan & Co., Ltd., OCLC 222716698:
- However, with the dainty volume my quondam friend sprang into fame. At the same time he cast off the chrysalis of a commonplace existence.
- Fastidious and fussy, especially when eating.
- c. 1587–1588, [Christopher Marlowe], Tamburlaine the Great. […] The First Part […], part 1, 2nd edition, London: […] [R. Robinson for] Richard Iones, […], published 1592, OCLC 932920499; reprinted as Tamburlaine the Great (A Scolar Press Facsimile), Menston, Yorkshire; London: Scolar Press, 1973, →ISBN, Act III, scene ii:
- UUho when he ſhal embrace you in his arms
UUil tell how many thouſand men he ſlew.
And when you looke for amorous diſcourſe,
Will rattle foorth his facts of war and blood:
Too harſh a ſubiect for your daintie eares.
delicately small and pretty
fastidious and fussy when eating
- “dainty” in the Canadian Oxford Dictionary, Second Edition, Oxford University Press, 2004.