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, subtleadjective

    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. subtleadjective

    able to make fine distinctions

    "a subtle mind"

  3. insidious, pernicious, subtleadjective

    working or spreading in a hidden and usually injurious way

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

Wiktionary

  1. subtleadjective

    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. subtleadjective

    Cleverly contrived.

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

  3. subtleadjective

    Cunning, skillful.

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

  4. subtleadjective

    insidious

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

  5. subtleadjective

    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?

How to say subtle in sign language?

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. Bill Condon:

    …Josh [Gad] makes something really subtle and delicious out it said, and that’s what has its pay-off at the end, which I don’t want to give away. But it’s a nice, exclusively gay moment in a Disney movie.

  2. Sydney Harris:

    We have not passed that subtle line between childhood and adulthood until we move from the passive voice to the active voice-that is, until we have stopped saying 'It got lost,' and say, 'I lost it.'

  3. Maida Galvez:

    Population-based studies have demonstrated the potential for subtle IQ deficits at [blood lead] levels as low as five micrograms perdeciliter.

  4. Deodatta V. Shenai-Khatkhate:

    There is a subtle difference between Charity and Philanthropy. In my view, the act of Charity is when you give a fish to the hungry person, while Philanthropy is when you teach her/him how to fish. Our world needs both, Charity as well as Philanthropy.

  5. Franklin D. Roosevelt:

    We have here a human as well as an economic problem. When humane considerations are concerned, Americans give them precedence. The lessons of history, confirmed by the evidence immediately before me, show conclusively that continued dependence upon relief induces a spiritual and moral disintegration fundamentally destructive to the national fibre. To dole out relief in this way is to administer a narcotic, a subtle destroyer of the human spirit.

Popularity rank by frequency of use

subtle#1#9840#10000

Translations for subtle

From our Multilingual Translation Dictionary

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