Subtle
Subtle 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. {Subtile}.] 1. Sly in design; artful; cunning; insinuating; subtile; -- applied to persons; as, a subtle foe. ``A subtle traitor.'' --Shak. [1913 Webster]

2. Cunningly devised; crafty; treacherous; as, a subtle stratagem. [1913 Webster]

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. [1913 Webster]

Things remote from use, obscure and subtle. --Milton. [1913 Webster]

4. Smooth and deceptive. [Obs.] [1913 Webster]

Like to a bowl upon a subtle ground [bowling ground]. --Shak. [1913 Webster]

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}. [1913 Webster]


The Collaborative International Dictionary of English. 2000.

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  • Subtle — Тип Менеджер окон Разработчик Christoph Kappel Написана на C Операционная система POSIX совместимые Последняя версия 0.9 Тестовая версия последняя ревизия Darcs …   Википедия

  • subtle — [sut′ l] adj. subtler [sut′lər, sut′ l ər] subtlest [ME sotil < OFr soutil < L subtilis, fine, thin, precise, orig., closely woven < sub (see SUB ) + tela, web < * texla < texere, to weave: see TECHNIC] 1. thin; rare; tenuous; not… …   English World dictionary

  • Subtle — est un groupe composé par Adam Drucker, Jeffrey Logan, Dax Pierson, Jordan Dalrymple, Alexander Kort, et Marty Dowers. Bien que Adam (alias Doseone) et Jeffrey (alias Jel) soient signés sur anticon., le groupe Subtle ne fait pas partie du… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Subtle — may refer to:*Subtle, a musical group consisting of members of the anticon. hip hop collective *Doctor Subtilis, John Duns Scotus *Subtle body, an idea in mysticism * The Subtle Knife , a novel by Philip Pullman and the second book in the trilogy …   Wikipedia

  • subtle — [adj1] nice, quiet, delicate attenuate, attenuated, deep, discriminating, ethereal, exquisite, faint, fine, finespun, hairline, hairsplitting, illusive, implied, inconspicuous, indirect, indistinct, inferred, ingenious, insinuated, mental,… …   New thesaurus

  • subtle — ► ADJECTIVE (subtler, subtlest) 1) so delicate or precise as to be difficult to analyse or describe. 2) capable of making fine distinctions. 3) delicately complex and understated: subtle lighting. 4) making use of clever and indirect methods to… …   English terms dictionary

  • subtle — I (insidious) adjective canny, contriving, crafty, cunning, deceitful, deceptive, designing, feline, guileful, illusive, implied, indistinct, inferred, insinuated, intriguing, serpentine, shifty, shrewd, sly, sophistical, stealthy, tricky,… …   Law dictionary

  • subtle — c.1300, sutel, soutil, in ref. to things, of thin consistency; in ref. to craftsmen, skilled, clever, from O.Fr. soutil, from L. subtilis fine, thin, delicate, finely woven, from sub under (see SUB (Cf. sub )) + tilis, from tela web and texere …   Etymology dictionary

  • subtle — *logical, analytical Analogous words: penetrating, piercing, probing (see ENTER): *deep, profound: abstruse, *recondite Antonyms: dense (in mind): blunt (in speech) …   New Dictionary of Synonyms

  • subtle — has a corresponding adverb subtly, and the noun is subtlety (which is also countable with a plural form subtleties). The b is silent in all these forms …   Modern English usage

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