adj. dain·ti·er, dain·ti·est
1. Delicately beautiful or charming and usually small: dainty slippers.
2. Delicious; tasty: a dainty dish.
3. Fastidious or finicky: "They chided [them] for being too dainty to eat army rations" (Stephen Berry).
4. Frail in constitution or health: "Such heroines have [been]replaced by the dainty young thing who faints away at the sight of a six-shooter" (Molly Gloss).
n. pl. dain·ties
Something delicious; a delicacy.
[Middle English deinte, excellent, excellence, from Old French deintie, from Latin dignitās, from dignus, worthy; see dek- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2019 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.