Definition of indelicate in English:



  • 1Having or showing a lack of sensitive understanding or tact.

    ‘forgive me asking an indelicate question, but how are you off for money?’
    • ‘Magdalena heard an indelicate snort from David's direction, matched by a skeptical but amused smile from Ketheral, who was shaking his head.’
    • ‘Yes, indeed; sometimes when we see them walking down the street it is impossible for us to tell, without indelicate scrutiny, who is a boy and who is a girl.’
    • ‘After all, with due deference to Her Majesty, it was suddenly beginning to look a little indelicate.’
    • ‘Frank would not be so indelicate as to disclose just which of our 2003 roster is under suspicion.’
    • ‘And, precisely because of the ignorance we are trying to remedy, there is always the possibility that the question itself will prove indelicate or otherwise an occasion for trouble.’
    • ‘As a friend of both those gentlemen, I have to say that I find myself in the indelicate position of having a foot planted firmly on either side of a barbed wire fence.’
    • ‘I have to ask a perhaps indelicate question in this Chamber: Where does that leave the now legitimised sex industry?’
    • ‘He stomped out the restaurant and crossed the street, heading, I'm guessing, for the Pizza Express across the road, who I'm sure would not be so indelicate.’
    • ‘And I can't help but agree with some of the analysts we spoke to and think the timing of the Lloyds TSB announcement was a touch indelicate.’
    • ‘Which, come to think of it, raises the indelicate question.’
    • ‘Not to be indelicate, but it looks like you didn't really diet for that part.’
    • ‘It seemed indelicate to ask whether he later married the girl, though I would imagine that he did not.’
    • ‘He who, she had been persuaded, would avoid her as his greatest enemy, seemed, on this accidental meeting, most eager to preserve the acquaintance, and without any indelicate display of regard, or any peculiarity of manner, where their two selves only were concerned, was soliciting the good opinion of her friends, and bent on making her known to his sister…’
    • ‘However serious the material, his tone is light, as if it would be indelicate to thump home a message or afflict the reader with anything too distressing.’
    • ‘There's also the indelicate matter of tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of undocumented workers from the Gulf Coast's casinos, restaurants and other service-related establishments.’
    • ‘No one would be so indelicate as to mention in those whispered after-dinner conversations that these families were slave-owners, plantation landlords, racketeers and exploiters.’
    • ‘He was wondering just who Chanting Breeze might have been and if it would be indelicate of him to ask.’
    • ‘Combined with a cast featuring a who's-who of Hollywood at the time, the film ends up being an indelicate mixture of the sacred and the profane.’
    • ‘He shoots me a nervous sideways look, maybe afraid I'll take offense at the indelicate reference.’
    • ‘Forgive me for the indelicate question, whose decision was it to go with cremation?’
    insensitive, tactless, undiplomatic, impolitic, indiscreet
    View synonyms
  • 2Slightly indecent.

    ‘an earthy, often indelicate sense of humour’
    • ‘And if you heard the folks from this feisty bit of terra firma, you'd know their accent, not to mention their vocabulary was indubitably indelicate if not incomprehensibly improper.’
    • ‘Those of you who are still unclear on the meaning behind the Life Lesson Of The Day are warned that the story of how I came to discover this Lesson is slightly indelicate.’
    • ‘The Sydney Morning Herald described it as ‘the most libertinish and indelicate performance that could be given on the public stage’, and in Melbourne the season was hurriedly terminated when the possibility of a court case loomed.’
    • ‘So as you say, sledging originally referred to male cricketers using indelicate language in front of the ladies, but when did the meaning shift to what we understand sledging to be now, to be that of verbal abuse between players on the field?’
    • ‘Smelly, ugly, rude, indelicate, and adulterous are just a few of the ‘nicer’ comments made about Caroline of Brunswick.’
    • ‘He was so full of gossip about what really goes on behind the scenes in politics that we could barely tear ourselves away from his glorious, indelicate anecdotes.’
    • ‘Naturally, all of these adornments, together with the elimination of ambiguous, controversial or indelicate elements, imply the contamination of the traditional fairytale material.’
    • ‘Tranmere played with a good deal more enthusiasm as the evening wore on, suggesting that Aldridge had expressed - presumably in an indelicate fashion - his sense of displeasure during the recess.’
    • ‘He finds Georges sprawled across a chair in the front room, flipping through an indelicate magazine.’
    • ‘Not knowing who I was, they spoke to me frankly about the gruesome details of their work, and made indelicate jokes, but they seemed more worried about dehydration than about ‘taking the job home’ or losing sleep.’
    • ‘The term sounds indelicate, but the practice is quite legitimate.’
    • ‘How can such an indelicate phrase come from a gentleman like yourself?’
    vulgar, coarse, rude, gross, crude, bawdy, racy, risqué, ribald, rabelaisian, earthy, indecent, improper, indecorous, unseemly, unrefined, off colour, obscene, dirty, filthy, impure, smutty, lewd, salacious, raw, lascivious, licentious
    View synonyms