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 ?
Her face was captivating by reason of a certain frankness of expression and a contradictory subtle play of features.
Not a sound escaped them; the most subtle examination could not have told they breathed.
Here we have the man, sly, subtle, hard, imperious, and, withal, cold as ice.
After my fellowship of toil and impracticable schemes with the dreamy brethren of Brook Farm; after living for three years within the subtle influence of an intellect like Emerson's; after those wild, free days on the Assabeth, indulging fantastic speculations, beside our fire of fallen boughs, with Ellery Channing; after talking with Thoreau about pine-trees and Indian relics in his hermitage at Walden; after growing fastidious by sympathy with the classic refinement of Hillard's culture; after becoming imbued with poetic sentiment at Longfellow's hearthstone -- it was time, at length, that I should exercise other faculties of my nature, and nourish myself with food for which I had hitherto had little appetite.
This was strangely heightened at times by the ragged Elijah's diabolical incoherences uninvitedly recurring to me, with a subtle energy I could not have before conceived of.
True, both his eyes, in themselves, must simultaneously act; but is his brain so much more comprehensive, combining, and subtle than man's, that he can at the same moment of time attentively examine two distinct prospects, one on one side of him, and the other in an exactly opposite direction?
Now, however, since they had come to the new country, all this was changing; it seemed as if there must be some subtle poison in the air that one breathed here--it was affecting all the young men at once.
The fair, high-bred child, with her golden head, her deep eyes, her spiritual, noble brow, and prince-like movements; and her black, keen, subtle, cringing, yet acute neighbor.
I believe that there is a subtle magnetism in Nature, which, if we unconsciously yield to it, will direct us aright.
But then the Church came to the front, with an axe to grind; and she was wise, subtle, and knew more than one way to skin a cat -- or a nation; she invented "divine right of kings," and propped it all around, brick by brick, with the Beatitudes -- wrenching them from their good purpose to make them fortify an evil one; she preached (to the commoner) humility, obedience to superiors, the beauty of self-sacrifice; she preached
She still drops a foreign word into her talk now and then, and there is still a subtle foreign flavor or fragrance about even her exactest English - and long may this abide
There is a subtle something about the majestic pathos of the original which the copyist cannot get.