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Meaning of SUBTLE

Pronunciation:  'sutl

WordNet Dictionary
  1. [adj]  faint and difficult to analyze; "subtle aromas"
  2. [adj]  working or spreading in a hidden and usually injurious way; "glaucoma is an insidious disease"; "a subtle poison"
  3. [adj]  be difficult to detect or grasp by the mind; "his whole attitude had undergone a subtle change"; "a subtle difference"; "that elusive thing the soul"
  4. [adj]  able to make fine distinctions; "a subtle mind"

SUBTLE is a 6 letter word that starts with S.


 Synonyms: delicate, elusive, harmful, impalpable, insidious, perceptive, pernicious



Webster's 1913 Dictionary
\Sub"tle\, a. [Compar. {Subtler}; superl. {Subtlest}.]
[OE. sotil, subtil, OF. soutil, later subtil, F. subtil, L.
subtilis; probably, originally, woven fine, and fr. sub under
+ tela a web, fr. texere to weave. See {Text}, and cf.
1. Sly in design; artful; cunning; insinuating; subtile; --
   applied to persons; as, a subtle foe. ``A subtle
   traitor.'' --Shak.

2. Cunningly devised; crafty; treacherous; as, a subtle

3. 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.

         Things remote from use, obscure and subtle.

4. Smooth and deceptive. [Obs.]

         Like to a bowl upon a subtle ground [bowling
         ground].                              --Shak.

Syn: Artful; crafty; cunning; shrewd; sly; wily.

Usage: Subtle is the most comprehensive of these epithets and
       implies the finest intellectual quality. See {Shrewd},
       and {Cunning}.