For example I could say

The city has an excellent public transport system.

Could I also say the following?

The city has an exquisite public transport system.

To my ears the second one sounds wrong. Is it wrong? If it is can someone explain what is the difference between the two words?

closed as off-topic by FumbleFingers, michael_timofeev, Nathaniel, tchrist, Hugh Nov 29 '15 at 22:57

This question appears to be off-topic. The users who voted to close gave this specific reason:

If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • Perhaps if you were in Lothlórien. – Edwin Ashworth Nov 28 '15 at 12:22
  • An excellent public transport system is far more likely, particularly if you're praising the day-to-day performance of the system. But an exquisite public transport system is perfectly credible if, say, you want to focus on the intricate design of the network. This sort of distinction can be established from dictionaries. – FumbleFingers Nov 28 '15 at 13:10
  • Just Monday I was experiencing excellent pain, following shoulder surgery. – Hot Licks Nov 28 '15 at 17:26



The word describes the finer things in life; beautiful, charming, attractive and fine, always fine.


According to the new oxford american dictionary, exquisite means extremely beautiful and, typically, delicate but excellent means extremely good; outstanding.

So, excellent is broader than exquisite.

  • You've never seen an exquisite broad? – Hot Licks Nov 28 '15 at 17:37

The second usage is indeed strange considering that exquisite is usually reserved for things of the finest craftsmanship and of remarkable beauty. For example, the Faberge Eggs are described as exquisite. Also, jewelry http://www.exquisitejewelers.com, and watches http://www.exquisitetimepieces.com.

enter image description here

Perhaps Faberge has reincarnated and designed the transport system...

enter image description here

See excellent, here: http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/excellent. You can call exquisite things excellent but excellent doesn't really call to mind the intricacy and wonder that exquisite does.

When Hamlet was talking with Rosenkrantz and Gildenstern he said, "What a piece of work is a man, how noble in reason, how infinite in faculties, in form and moving, how express and admirable in action, how like an angel in apprehension, how like a god!" He could have slipped the word exquisite in; "What an exquisite piece of work is a man..."

  • But does your picture above not show an exquisite transportation system? – Hot Licks Nov 28 '15 at 17:35
  • @HotLicks that's funny... – michael_timofeev Nov 28 '15 at 17:37
  • But true. And it's easy to see how a transportation system which was much better than it's peers (clean, well-run, etc), especially in years gone by, might be called "exquisite". – Hot Licks Nov 28 '15 at 17:39
  • It's definitely in the mind of the beholder. But I feel sorry for anyone who cannot identify some exquisite aspect of even the most mundane item -- they get their intellectual nourishment from McDonald's. – Hot Licks Nov 28 '15 at 17:45

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.