Subtile Sub"tile, a. [L. subtilis. See {Subtile}.] 1. Thin; not dense or gross; rare; as, subtile air; subtile vapor; a subtile medium. [1913 Webster]

2. Delicately constituted or constructed; nice; fine; delicate; tenuous; finely woven. ``A sotil [subtile] twine's thread.'' --Chaucer. [1913 Webster]

More subtile web Arachne can not spin. --Spenser. [1913 Webster]

I do distinguish plain Each subtile line of her immortal face. --Sir J. Davies. [1913 Webster]

3. Acute; piercing; searching. [1913 Webster]

The slow disease and subtile pain. --Prior. [1913 Webster]

5. Characterized by nicety of discrimination; discerning; delicate; refined; subtle. [In this sense now commonly written {subtle}.] [1913 Webster]

The genius of the Spanish people is exquisitely subtile, without being at all acute; hence there is so much humor and so little wit in their literature. The genius of the Italians, on the contrary, is acute, profound, and sensual, but not subtile; hence what they think to be humorous, is merely witty. --Coleridge. [1913 Webster]

The subtile influence of an intellect like Emerson's. --Hawthorne. [1913 Webster]

5. Sly; artful; cunning; crafty; subtle; as, a subtile person; a subtile adversary; a subtile scheme. [In this sense now commonly written {subtle}.] [1913 Webster]

Syn: {Subtile}, {Acute}.

Usage: In acute the image is that of a needle's point; in subtile that of a thread spun out to fineness. The acute intellect pierces to its aim; the subtile (or subtle) intellect winds its way through obstacles. [1913 Webster] -- {Sub"tile*ly}, adv. -- {Sub"tile*ness}, n. [1913 Webster]

The Collaborative International Dictionary of English. 2000.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • subtileness — noun see subtile …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • subtileness — See subtilely. * * * …   Universalium

  • subtileness — n. See subtilty …   New dictionary of synonyms

  • subtileness — …   Useful english dictionary

  • subtile — adjective (subtiler; subtilest) Etymology: Middle English subtile, sotil subtle Date: 14th century 1. subtle, elusive < a subtile aroma > 2. a. cunning, crafty b. sagacious, discerning …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • subtile — subtilely, adv. subtileness, n. /sut l, sub til/, adj., subtiler, subtilest. subtle. [1325 75; ME < L subtilis fine (orig. of fabric), equiv. to sub SUB + tilis, akin to tela cloth on a loom, loom ( < *teksla, deriv. of texere to weave; see… …   Universalium

  • etherealness — n. Airiness, rarity, subtilty, subtileness, delicacy, tenuity, attenuation, fairy like delicacy, ethereality …   New dictionary of synonyms

  • subtilty — n. 1. Rarity, thinness, etherealness, subtileness. 2. Fineness, slenderness. 3. Refinement, extreme nicety, subtlety, acuteness. 4. Slyness, cunning, artifice, craft, subtlety …   New dictionary of synonyms

  • ethereality — n 1. airiness, gaseousness, vaporousness, etherealness; immateriality, unsubstantiality, incorporeity; tenuousness, rarity, subtileness. 2. delicateness, fineness, thinness, fragility, frailty; sheerness, diaphanousness. 3. heavenliness,… …   A Note on the Style of the synonym finder

  • subtile — [sut′ l, sub′til] adj. [ME < MFr subtil, altered (infl. by L) < OFr soutil: see SUBTLE] now rare var. of SUBTLE subtilely adv. subtileness n. subtilty n. pl. subtilities subtility [səb til′ə tē] …   English World dictionary

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