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subtle

English

Alternative spellings

Etymology

Old English sotil, subtil, Old French soutil, later subtil, French subtil, [[w:Template:lang:la language|Template:lang:la]][[Category:Template:lang:la derivations]] subtilis; probably, originally, “woven fine”, and from sub (under) + tela (a web), from texere (to weave).

Pronunciation

Adjective

subtle (comparative {{{1}}}, superlative {{{2}}})

Positive
subtle

Comparative
{{{1}}}

Superlative
{{{2}}}

  1. Hard to grasp; not obvious or easily understood; barely noticeable.
    The difference is subtle, but you can hear it if you listen carefully.
  2. (Template loop detected: Template:context 1) Cleverly contrived.
  3. (Template loop detected: Template:context 1) Cunning, skillful.
  4. insidious
    • William Shakespeare, The Tragedy of Richard the Third, act iv, scene 4
      Thy age confirmed, proud, subtle, bloody, treacherous.

Synonyms

Translations

The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Help:How to check translations.

References

  • "subtle" at The Century Dictionary, The Century Co., New York, 1911.

subtle” in Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary, G. & C. Merriam, 1913.

Elsewhere on the web

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Last modified on 8 November 2008, at 01:21