ex·quis·ite (ĭk-skwĭzĭt, ĕkskwĭ-zĭt)
a. Characterized by highly skilled or intricate art; excellently made or formed: an exquisite gold chalice.
b. Extremely or delightfully beautiful: the exquisite colors of a sunset.
2. Excellent or outstanding, especially by exhibiting or appealing to refined taste: "A guy who knew all the jazz spots and had an exquisite collection of old 78s" (Shirley Abbott).
3. Extremely subtle or precise: an image rendered in exquisite detail.
4. Intense; keen: exquisite delight; suffered exquisite pain.
5. Obsolete Ingeniously devised or thought out.
One who is excessively fastidious in dress, manners, or taste.
[Middle English exquisit, carefully chosen, from Latin exquīsītus, past participle of exquīrere, to search out : ex-, ex- + quaerere, to seek.]
Synonyms: exquisite, delicate, elegant, fine1
These adjectives mean appealing to refined taste: an exquisite wine; a delicate flavor; elegant handwriting; the finest embroidery.
Usage Note: The traditional pronunciation of exquisite has stress on the first syllable (ĕkskwĭ-zĭt), rhyming roughly with requisite. Although the pronunciation with stress on the second syllable—(ĭk-skwĭzĭt), rhyming roughly with exhibit—is newer, it was preferred by 64 percent of the Usage Panel in the 2011 survey.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
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