Quantcast
Merriam-Webster Logo
  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
  • Medical
  • Scrabble
  • Spanish Central
  • Learner's Dictionary

subtlety

play
noun sub·tle·ty \ˈsə-təl-tē\

Simple Definition of subtlety

  • : the quality or state of being subtle

  • : a small detail that is usually important but not obvious

Full Definition of subtlety

plural sub·tle·ties

  1. 1 :  the quality or state of being subtle

  2. 2 :  something subtle

Examples of subtlety

  1. The pianist performed with subtlety and passion.

  2. <we appreciated the subtlety with which our host indicated that it was time to leave: he volunteered to pack us a little lunch for the road>



Origin of subtlety

Middle English sotilte, subtilte, from Anglo-French sotilté, from Latin subtilitat-, subtilitas, from subtilis


First Known Use: 14th century



Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up subtlety? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

February 12, 2016

of, relating to, or suggestive of marble

Get Word of the Day daily email!

WORD GAMES

Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!

image33683556

How much does a batman (the Turkish unit of measurement) weigh?

2.2 pounds 196.5 pounds 16.96 pounds 100 pounds
Name That Thing

10 quick questions: hear them, spell them, and see how your skills compare to the crowd.

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ