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adj. sub·tler, sub·tlest
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.
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
References in classic literature ?
Consider the subtleness of the sea; how its most dreaded creatures glide under water, unapparent for the most part, and treacherously hidden beneath the loveliest tints of azure.
She aims to heighten the viewer's perceptions by involving them in the subtleness and the beyond meanings of each ornament, symbol and human equation which are always incorporated in her paintings, thus creates an amusing and distinctive dialogue in visual and emotional language and style, mostly featuring Human figures , their reality, thought, and dreams.
Redefining the purveyor of subtleness 'in-between' going creative and experimenting with looks has won millennials over the period of time.
In the words of Herron, 'if you love it, use it.' A little subtleness, however, gives your home a touch of elegance and prevents your beloved pieces from becoming tacky.
I hadn't counted on the subtleness of the cheese and the strength of the wild mushrooms though.
possession aberdeen hamilton 65% 35% 7 SHOTS ON TARGET 2 9 SHOTS OFF TARGET 7 8 CORNERS 1 9 FOULS 14 0 YELLOW CARDS 3 0 RED CARDS 1 man of the match JAMES WILSON was a cut above the rest both in subtleness of touch and awareness.
Jim is proud of the subtleness of the politics of the play: 'Not too strong as to take away the power of the story and the joy of the songs.' Librettist Robbie Guevarra helmed the production with Daniel Bartolome (musical director) and PJ Rebudilla (choreographer) with just the right bildungsroman flavor, focusing on the conflict between young people and their society in a quest for life's meaning, leading them to the road to maturity.
We are used so seeing blatant gender discrimination and violence in our neighboring countries which is why I think the subtleness eludes us.' She also mentioned that the other reason, she thinks, is the mental block.
Such subtleness and sensitivity is appreciated by cast members like Hill.
Financial crimes are characterized by deceit, concealment or violation of trust and can be committed with every form of dynamism, subtleness and camouflage [4].
This seems a more desperate and vigorous way of expression, which has lost the subtleness and lingering charm of "missing" as actually felt by lovers.
Injuries have stifled his opportunities since he's been in Wales, but now he seems clear of them, with the clarity and subtleness he brings to proceedings adding a lot to the Welsh play.