racy (adj.) 1650s, "having a characteristic taste" (of wines, fruits, etc.), from RACE (Cf. race) (n.2) in its older sense of "flavor" + -Y (Cf. -y) (2); meaning "having a quality of vigor" (1660s) led to that of "improper, risqué," first recorded 1901, probably reinforced by phrase racy of the soil "earthy" (1870).

Etymology dictionary. 2014.

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  • Racy — Ra cy (r[=a] s[y^]), a. [Compar. {Racier} (r[=a] s[i^]*[ e]r); superl. {Raciest}.] [From {Race} a tribe, family.] 1. Having a strong flavor indicating origin; of distinct characteristic taste; tasting of the soil; hence, fresh; rich. [1913… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • racy — [rā′sē] adj. racier, raciest [ RACE2 + Y2] 1. having the characteristic taste, flavor, or quality associated with the original or genuine type [racy fruit] 2. lively; spirited; vigorous 3. piquant; pungent …   English World dictionary

  • racy — [adj1] energetic, zestful animated, bright, buoyant, clever, distinctive, entertaining, exciting, exhilarating, fiery, forceful, forcible, gingery, heady, keen, lively, mettlesome, peppery, piquant, playful, poignant, pungent, rich, salty, saucy* …   New thesaurus

  • racy — index lurid, suggestive (risqué) Burton s Legal Thesaurus. William C. Burton. 2006 …   Law dictionary

  • racy — *pungent, piquant, poignant, spicy, snappy Analogous words: exciting, stimulating, quickening, provoking or provocative (see corresponding verbs at PROVOKE): *spirited, mettlesome, fiery, gingery, peppery Contrasted words: *insipid, flat, jejune …   New Dictionary of Synonyms

  • racy — ► ADJECTIVE (racier, raciest) 1) suggestive; risqué. 2) lively, vigorous, or spirited. DERIVATIVES racily adverb raciness noun …   English terms dictionary

  • racy — I. adjective (racier; est) Etymology: 3race Date: circa 1650 1. a. full of zest or vigor b. having a strongly marked quality ; piquant < a racy flavor > c. risque …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • racy — UK [ˈreɪsɪ] / US adjective Word forms racy : adjective racy comparative racier superlative raciest a racy story, film, or play is slightly shocking in the way that it describes or shows sex Derived words: racily adverb raciness noun uncountable …   English dictionary

  • racy — rac|y [ˈreısi] adj [Date: 1600 1700; Origin: race particular taste (16 19 centuries)] racy writing is exciting and entertaining and often about sex ▪ a racy novel …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • racy — adjective speech or writing that is racy is exciting and entertaining: racy jokes/humour/stories (=connected with sex) racily adverb raciness noun (U) …   Longman dictionary of contemporary English

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