subtle


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sub·tle

 (sŭt′l)
adj. sub·tler, sub·tlest
1.
a. So slight as to be difficult to detect or describe; elusive: a subtle smile.
b. Difficult to understand; abstruse: an argument whose subtle point was lost on her opponent.
2. Able to make fine distinctions: a subtle mind.
3. Operating in a hidden, usually injurious way; insidious: a subtle poison.
4. Archaic
a. Characterized by skill or ingenuity; clever.
b. Crafty or sly; devious.

[Middle English sotil, from Old French, from Latin subtīlis; see teks- in Indo-European roots.]

sub′tle·ness n.
sub′tly adv.

subtle

(ˈsʌtəl)
adj
1. not immediately obvious or comprehensible
2. difficult to detect or analyse, often through being delicate or highly refined: a subtle scent.
3. showing or making or capable of showing or making fine distinctions of meaning
4. marked by or requiring mental acuteness or ingenuity; discriminating
5. delicate or faint: a subtle shade.
6. cunning or wily: a subtle rogue.
7. operating or executed in secret: a subtle intrigue.
[C14: from Old French soutil, from Latin subtīlis finely woven]
ˈsubtleness n
ˈsubtly adv

sub•tle

(ˈsʌt l)

adj. -tler, -tlest.
1. thin, tenuous, or rarefied, as a fluid or an odor.
2. fine or delicate in meaning or intent; difficult to perceive or understand: subtle irony.
3. delicate or faint and mysterious: a subtle smile.
4. characterized by or requiring mental acuteness, penetration, or discernment.
5. cunning, wily, or crafty.
6. insidious in operation: a subtle poison.
7. skillful, clever, or ingenious.
[1250–1300; Middle English sotil < Old French < Latin subtīlis subtile]
sub′tle•ness, n.
sub′tly, adv.

subtle

  • subingression - A subtle or unseen entrance.
  • ethereal - First meant "resembling the ether or lightest and most subtle of elements," and now means that something is impalpable or unearthly.
  • hard sell, soft sell - Hard sell implies an aggressive approach toward a potential buyer; a soft sell is a more subtle, suggestive approach.
  • subtle - Its ultimate source is Latin subtilis, "finely woven," a weaving term, from sub tela, "beneath the lengthwise threads of a loom."
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Adj.1.subtle - difficult to detect or grasp by the mind or analyze; "his whole attitude had undergone a subtle change"; "a subtle difference"; "that elusive thing the soul"
impalpable - imperceptible to the senses or the mind; "an impalpable cloud"; "impalpable shadows"; "impalpable distinctions"; "as impalpable as a dream"
2.subtle - able to make fine distinctions; "a subtle mind"
perceptive - having the ability to perceive or understand; keen in discernment; "a perceptive eye"; "a perceptive observation"
3.subtle - working or spreading in a hidden and usually injurious way; "glaucoma is an insidious disease"; "a subtle poison"
harmful - causing or capable of causing harm; "too much sun is harmful to the skin"; "harmful effects of smoking"

subtle

adjective
3. muted, soft, faint, subdued, low-key, toned down subtle shades of brown
4. fine, minute, narrow, tenuous, hair-splitting There was, however, a subtle distinction between the two lawsuits.

subtle

adjective
1. So slight as to be difficult to notice or appreciate:
2. Able to make or detect effects of great subtlety or precision:
Translations
دَقِيقدَقيق، خَفيفذَكي، ماهِر
nepatrnýbystrýjemný
subtilsvagudspekuleret
hienovarainen
suptilan
körmönfont
daufur, óljós; hárfínnglöggur
微妙な
미묘한
vos juntamas
grūti nosakāmssmalkstikko jaušamsviltīgs
subtil
ซึ่งบอกเป็นนัยๆ
anlaşılması güçbelli belirsizkurnaz
tinh vi

subtle

[ˈsʌtl] ADJ (subtler (compar) (subtlest (superl)))
1. (= delicate, fine) [perfume, flavour] → suave, sutil; [colour] → tenue; [charm, beauty, nuance, reminder, person] → sutil; [humour, irony] → sutil, fino
the subtle fragrance of the violetla suave fragancia or la fragancia sutil de la violeta
a subtle hint of pinkun ligero toque de rosa
there's a subtle difference between these two wordshay una diferencia sutil entre estas dos palabras
she was never very subtlenunca fue muy sutil
it was a subtle form of racismera una forma sutil de racismo
2. (= perceptive) [person] → perspicaz, agudo; [mind] → sutil, agudo; [analysis] → ingenioso

subtle

[ˈsʌtəl] adj
(= not very noticeable) [difference, distinction, changes] → subtil(e)
(= clever) [person, character, manner, mind, plan] → subtil(e)
(= delicate) [flavour, scent, shade] → subtil(e)

subtle

adj
(= delicate, gentle)fein; irony, distinctionfein, subtil (geh); perfume, flavourzart, fein; hint, allusionzart, leise; charmleise, unaufdringlich
(= ingenious, not obvious) remark, argument, pointscharfsinnig, spitzfindig; problemsubtil; pressuresanft; design, construction, proofraffiniert, fein ausgedacht or ausgetüftelt (inf); he has a very subtle minder ist ein sehr subtiler Denker (geh); be subtle about itgehen Sie mit Zartgefühl vor
(= quick at seeing fine distinctions) observer, criticaufmerksam, subtil (geh)

subtle

[ˈsʌtl] adj (gen) → sottile; (flavour, perfume) → delicato/a

subtle

(ˈsatl) adjective
1. faint or delicate in quality, and therefore difficult to describe or explain. There is a subtle difference between `unnecessary' and `not necessary'; a subtle flavour.
2. clever or cunning. He has a subtle mind.
subtlety (ˈsatlti) noun
ˈsubtly adverb

subtle

دَقِيق nepatrný subtil fein ανεπαίσθητος sutil hienovarainen subtil suptilan sottile 微妙な 미묘한 subtiel subtil subtelny subtil, sutil едва различимый subtil ซึ่งบอกเป็นนัยๆ belli belirsiz tinh vi 微妙的

subtile

, subtle
a. sutil, delicado-a; inadvertido-a, desapercibido-a.
References in classic literature ?
Natasha on one side was talking with Sonya and Boris, and Vera with a subtle smile was saying something to Prince Andrew.
Without subtle ingenuity of mind, one cannot make certain of the truth of their reports.
Thou seducest, thou false one, thou subtle one, to unknown desires and deserts.
The Pension Vauquer was dark, brown, sordid, graisseuse; but this is in quite a different tone, with high, clear, lightly-draped windows, tender, subtle, almost morbid, colours, and furniture in elegant, studied, reed-like lines.
Most of his poems, other than certain political satire, which drew on him the Emperor's wrath, are full of subtle sadness and fragrant regret, reminding one of pot-pourri in some deep blue porcelain bowl.
If it had not been for the distinctive property of anti-nihilistic influence on the side of classical studies, we should have considered the subject more, have weighed the arguments on both sides," said Sergey Ivanovitch with a subtle smile, "we should have given elbow-room to both tendencies.
Her face was captivating by reason of a certain frankness of expression and a contradictory subtle play of features.
The spell of the fair wind has a subtle power to scatter a white-winged company of ships looking all the same way, each with its white fillet of tumbling foam under the bow.
It was gravely said by some of the prelates in the Council of Trent, where the doctrine of the Schoolmen bare great sway, that the Schoolmen were like astronomers, which did feign eccentrics and epicycles, and such engines of orbs, to save the phenomena; though they knew there were no such things; and in like manner, that the Schoolmen had framed a number of subtle and intricate axioms, and theorems, to save the practice of the church.
Those sentiments have induced me to offer to the unimpressionable doctor who attends on her my vast knowledge of chemistry, and my luminous experience of the more subtle resources which medical and magnetic science have placed at the disposal of mankind.
His little dinners, in the settling of which Lord Henry always assisted him, were noted as much for the careful selection and placing of those invited, as for the exquisite taste shown in the decoration of the table, with its subtle symphonic arrangements of exotic flowers, and embroidered cloths, and antique plate of gold and silver.
In a word, that accumulated knowledge which man inherits by means of books, imparted and transmitted information, schools, colleges, and universities, we obtain through more subtle agencies that are incorporated with our organic construction, and which form a species of hereditary mesmerism; a vegetable clairvoyance that enables us to see with the eyes, hear with the ears, and digest with the understandings of our predecessors.