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From Middle English deynte, from Old French deintié, from Latin dignitātem. Doublet of dignity.


  • (UK, US) IPA(key): /ˈdeɪnti/
  • (file)
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -eɪnti


dainty (plural dainties)

  1. A delicacy (in taste).
    • 1719, Daniel Defoe, Robinson Crusoe:
      [] my case was deplorable enough, yet I had great cause for thankfulness that I was not driven to any extremities for food, but had rather plenty, even to dainties.
    • 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.
  2. (obsolete) Esteem, honour.
  3. (Canadian prairies, Northwestern Ontario, usually in the plural) A fancy cookie, pastry, or square, frequently homemade, served at a social event.
  4. (obsolete) An affectionate term of address.

Related terms[edit]



dainty (comparative daintier, superlative daintiest)

  1. (obsolete) Excellent; valuable, fine.
  2. Elegant; delicately small and pretty.
  3. Fastidious and fussy, especially when eating.


Derived terms[edit]



  • “dainty” in the Canadian Oxford Dictionary, Second Edition, Oxford University Press, 2004.