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.
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.

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
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, 12th Edition 2014 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2014

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.
Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary, © 2010 K Dictionaries Ltd. Copyright 2005, 1997, 1991 by Random House, Inc. All rights reserved.

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."
Farlex Trivia Dictionary. © 2012 Farlex, Inc. All rights reserved.
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"
Based on WordNet 3.0, Farlex clipart collection. © 2003-2012 Princeton University, Farlex Inc.

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.
Collins Thesaurus of the English Language – Complete and Unabridged 2nd Edition. 2002 © HarperCollins Publishers 1995, 2002

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:
The American Heritage® Roget's Thesaurus. Copyright © 2013, 2014 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
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
Collins Spanish Dictionary - Complete and Unabridged 8th Edition 2005 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1971, 1988 © HarperCollins Publishers 1992, 1993, 1996, 1997, 2000, 2003, 2005

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)
Collins English/French Electronic Resource. © HarperCollins Publishers 2005

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)
Collins German Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged 7th Edition 2005. © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1980 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1997, 1999, 2004, 2005, 2007

subtle

[ˈsʌtl] adj (gen) → sottile; (flavour, perfume) → delicato/a
Collins Italian Dictionary 1st Edition © HarperCollins Publishers 1995

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
Kernerman English Multilingual Dictionary © 2006-2013 K Dictionaries Ltd.

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
Multilingual Translator © HarperCollins Publishers 2009

subtile

, subtle
a. sutil, delicado-a; inadvertido-a, desapercibido-a.
English-Spanish Medical Dictionary © Farlex 2012
References in classic literature ?
The Englishman's proverbial lack of bragging is a subtler form of brag after all.
In ways subtler than they knew, they betrayed their intentions to the wolf-dog that haunted the cabin-stoop, and that, though he never came inside the cabin, knew what went on inside their brains.
He had dawdled over his cigar because he was at heart a dilettante, and thinking over a pleasure to come often gave him a subtler satisfaction than its realisation.
Inspector Jacks found himself wishing that the perfume of those lilacs might reach even to where he stood, and help him to forget for a moment that subtler and to him curiously unpleasant odor which all the time became more and more apparent.
The evil was of a deeper, subtler sort; so elusive, so intangible, as to defy clear, definite analysis in words.
"Thou mayest have deceived subtler ones than I," said Zarathustra sternly.
I think that either out of sheer love of mischief, or from some subtler motive, he is capable of anything.
A vulgar newspaper prominence had been my final (and very genuine) tribulation; but to please and to interest one so pleasing and so interesting to me, was another and a subtler thing.
compared with her, the innocent-looking Celia was knowing and worldly-wise; so much subtler is a human mind than the outside tissues which make a sort of blazonry or clock-face for it.
I have sometimes thought that greater skill had come to my hand from them than it would have had without, and I have trusted that in making known to me the sources of so much English, my little Latin and less Greek have enabled me to use my own speech with a subtler sense of it than I should have had otherwise.
There is no such thing as dead, inert matter: it is all alive; all instinct with force, actual and potential; all sensitive to the same forces in its environment and susceptible to the contagion of higher and subtler ones residing in such superior organisms as it may be brought into relation with, as those of man when he is fashioning it into an instrument of his will.
As the touch of his hand had been good, so, to her, this subtler feel of all of him, body and mind, was good.