Indelicate means lacking sensitivity, tact, or proper manners. It can refer to behavior or language that is inappropriate or offensive in certain social situations.


US English

UK English

Part of Speech



insensitive, tactless, impolite, crude, vulgar, offensive, inappropriate, unrefined, graceless.


Tactful, polite, refined, cultured, elegant, sensitive, considerate, discreet.

Word Forms

Part of Speech Words
Noun None
Verb None
Adjective indelicate
Adverb None

Example Sentences

  • It is indelicate to discuss one’s salary in public.

  • Making indelicate jokes can offend people and hurt their feelings.

  • She felt embarrassed by his indelicate comments about her appearance.

  • In some cultures, it is considered indelicate to eat with your left hand.


Indelicate is an adjective that is commonly used in formal or polite speech to describe actions or behavior that lacks social finesse or tact. It is often used to imply that someone has done something inappropriate or offensive, particularly in social settings or conversations. It has its roots in the Latin word ‘delicatus’, which means delicate or refined, and the prefix ‘in-’ serves to negate or reverse its meaning, making indelicate the opposite of delicate.

The word indelicate is also commonly used in medical settings to describe certain types of procedures or tests which may be considered rude or uncomfortable. For example, a doctor might use the term indelicate to refer to a test that requires the patient to disrobe or have an invasive examination.

Indelicate can also be used to describe language or writing that is crude, vulgar, or otherwise offensive. In this context, it might be used to criticize a comedian who relies on indelicate jokes or to refer to a book or movie that contains explicit sexual content or violence.

In general, the word indelicate is used to criticize behavior that is not appropriate or is socially unacceptable. It can also refer to actions or procedures that are considered rude, uncomfortable, or inappropriate by either the speaker or the person doing the act. As such, it is an important term to know, particularly for those who wish to navigate social and professional situations with finesse and grace. Overall, indelicate is a versatile word that can convey a range of negative connotations related to behavior, language, and social mores.