What does subtle mean?

Definitions for subtle
ˈsʌt lsub·tle

Here are all the possible meanings and translations of the word subtle.

Princeton's WordNet

  1. elusive, subtle(adj)

    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"

  2. subtle(adj)

    able to make fine distinctions

    "a subtle mind"

  3. insidious, pernicious, subtle(adj)

    working or spreading in a hidden and usually injurious way

    "glaucoma is an insidious disease"; "a subtle poison"

Wiktionary

  1. subtle(Adjective)

    Hard to grasp; not obvious or easily understood; barely noticeable.

    The difference is subtle, but you can hear it if you listen carefully.

    Etymology: From sotil, subtil, from soutil, later subtil, subtil, from subtilis; probably, originally, “woven fine”, and from sub + tela, from texere.

  2. subtle(Adjective)

    Cleverly contrived.

    Etymology: From sotil, subtil, from soutil, later subtil, subtil, from subtilis; probably, originally, “woven fine”, and from sub + tela, from texere.

  3. subtle(Adjective)

    Cunning, skillful.

    Etymology: From sotil, subtil, from soutil, later subtil, subtil, from subtilis; probably, originally, “woven fine”, and from sub + tela, from texere.

  4. subtle(Adjective)

    insidious

    Etymology: From sotil, subtil, from soutil, later subtil, subtil, from subtilis; probably, originally, “woven fine”, and from sub + tela, from texere.

  5. subtle(Adjective)

    Tenuous; rarefied; of low density or thin consistency.

    Etymology: From sotil, subtil, from soutil, later subtil, subtil, from subtilis; probably, originally, “woven fine”, and from sub + tela, from texere.

Webster Dictionary

  1. Subtle

    sly in design; artful; cunning; insinuating; subtile; -- applied to persons; as, a subtle foe

  2. Subtle

    cunningly devised; crafty; treacherous; as, a subtle stratagem

  3. Subtle

    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

  4. Subtle

    smooth and deceptive

Freebase

  1. Subtle

    Subtle was an alternative hip hop sextet from Oakland, California. It consisted of Adam Drucker, Jeffrey Logan, Dax Pierson, Jordan Dalrymple, Alexander Kort, and Marty Dowers. The band was formed in 2001. While considered by the artists to be "genreless", Subtle had close ties to the hip hop and indie music scene. Although both Doseone and Jel have strong ties to the Anticon collective, Subtle was not on the Anticon label roster. Subtle was signed to Lex Records.

Chambers 20th Century Dictionary

  1. Subtle

    sut′l (B. Sub′til), adj. subtile in a figurative sense: acute, quick to discern or discriminate: insinuating, sly, artful: cunningly devised, ingenious.—ns. Subt′leness, Subt′lety, quality of being subtle: artfulness: shrewdness: extreme acuteness.—adj. Subt′le-wit′ted, sharp-witted.—adv. Subt′ly (B. Sub′tilly), ingeniously, cleverly: artfully, deceitfully. [Contr. of subtile.]

Suggested Resources

  1. subtle

    Song lyrics by subtle -- Explore a large variety of song lyrics performed by subtle on the Lyrics.com website.

British National Corpus

  1. Spoken Corpus Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'subtle' in Spoken Corpus Frequency: #4833

  2. Adjectives Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'subtle' in Adjectives Frequency: #659

Anagrams for subtle »

  1. bluets

  2. bluest

  3. bustle

  4. sublet

How to pronounce subtle?

  1. Alex
    Alex
    US English
    Daniel
    Daniel
    British
    Karen
    Karen
    Australian
    Veena
    Veena
    Indian

How to say subtle in sign language?

  1. subtle

Numerology

  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of subtle in Chaldean Numerology is: 5

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of subtle in Pythagorean Numerology is: 7

Examples of subtle in a Sentence

  1. Glen Coppersmith:

    Some of these differences are obvious and make immediate sense, like depressed people talk about negative emotions more, some differences are more subtle, like depressed people use ‘I’ more than their community control counterparts.

  2. Chris Bailey:

    There is no doubt that the optics around the trade/diplomacy backdrop have worsened in the last week and this has had a negative influence, there has also been a subtle change in the perceptions of market participants, for example the negative interest rate debate getting a very good airing in the United States.

  3. Albert Einstein:

    The Lord God is subtle, but malicious He is not.

  4. Deodatta V. Shenai-Khatkhate:

    There is a subtle difference between an acqaintance, a faie-weather friend, and a tru friend. An acquaintance is around you merely to enjoy your company, a fair-weather friend flatters when all is well, but a true friend has your best interests at heart and the strong guts to tell you what you must hear, whether you like it or not. If you're lucky and smart, you will recognize and appreciate your true friend, and will be able to keep safe distance from fair-weather friends and acquaintances.

  5. Susan Imrie:

    The main takeaway is that the parents and babies are doing well, although we did find these subtle difference in the play task, egg donor mums and IVF mums did look more similar than different.

Images & Illustrations of subtle

  1. subtlesubtlesubtlesubtlesubtle

Popularity rank by frequency of use

subtle#1#9840#10000

Translations for subtle

From our Multilingual Translation Dictionary

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