Definitions for subtleˈsʌt l
Random House Webster's College Dictionary
sub•tleˈsʌt l(adj.)-tler, -tlest.
thin, tenuous, or rarefied, as a fluid or an odor.
fine or delicate in meaning or intent; difficult to perceive or understand:
delicate or faint and mysterious:
a subtle smile.
characterized by or requiring mental acuteness, penetration, or discernment.
cunning, wily, or crafty.
insidious in operation:
a subtle poison.
skillful, clever, or ingenious.
Origin of subtle:
1250–1300; ME sotil < OF < L subtīlissubtile
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"
able to make fine distinctions
"a subtle mind"
insidious, pernicious, subtle(adj)
working or spreading in a hidden and usually injurious way
"glaucoma is an insidious disease"; "a subtle poison"
Kernerman English Learner's Dictionary
affecting sth in a way that is not obvious
subtle changes in her mood; The transition was subtle.
pleasant and not too strong
a subtle flavor of ginger
creative and intelligent in a way that is not too obvious
a subtle argument; His acting was subtle but powerful.; He tried subtly to convince his son.; subtly shaded black-and-white photographs
Hard to grasp; not obvious or easily understood; barely noticeable.
The difference is subtle, but you can hear it if you listen carefully.
Tenuous; rarefied; of low density or thin consistency.
Origin: From sotil, subtil, from soutil, later subtil, subtil, from subtilis; probably, originally, “woven fine”, and from sub + tela, from texere.
sly in design; artful; cunning; insinuating; subtile; -- applied to persons; as, a subtle foe
cunningly devised; crafty; treacherous; as, a subtle stratagem
characterized by refinement and niceness in drawing distinctions; nicely discriminating; -- said of persons; as, a subtle logician; refined; tenuous; sinuous; insinuating; hence, penetrative or pervasive; -- said of the mind; its faculties, or its operations; as, a subtle intellect; a subtle imagination; a subtle process of thought; also, difficult of apprehension; elusive
smooth and deceptive
Translations for subtle
Kernerman English Multilingual Dictionary
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.
- دَقيق، خَفيفArabic
- едва доловимBulgarian
- sutilPortuguese (BR)
- nepatrný, jemnýCzech
- svag; raffineretDanish
- λεπτός, μικρός, απροσδιόριστοςGreek
- सूक्ष्म, अतिसूक्ष्मHindi
- fin, nježanCroatian
- daufur,óljós; hárfínnIcelandic
- subtilus, vos juntamas,švelnusLithuanian
- smalks; tikko jaušams; grūti nosakāmsLatvian
- tidak ketaraMalay
- svak, subtil, spissfindigNorwegian
- subtelny, delikatnyPolish
- نه محسوس کیدلPashto
- тонкий; едва различныйRussian
- nepatrný, jemnýSlovak
- komaj opazenSlovenian
- subtil, hårfinSwedish
- ละเอียด ; แนบเนียนThai
- anlaşılması güçTurkish
- 細微的Chinese (Trad.)
- тонкий; ледь відчутнийUkrainian
- ہلکا، نازکUrdu
- không dễ phát hiệnVietnamese
- 细微的Chinese (Simp.)
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