Simple Definition of svelte
: thin in an attractive or graceful way
Examples of svelte in a sentence
She has a svelte figure.
<the svelte dancer seemed to float across the stage>
Did You Know?
Svelte came to us, by way of French, from Italian svelto, which itself comes from the Italian verb svellere, meaning "to pluck out" or "to pull or stretch out." In English svelte has been used since the early 19th century to describe a slender appearance, as in A.B. Granville's 1838 description of a countess who was "tall, svelte, pale, and interesting." By the 20th century, English speakers had stretched the word's meaning to suggest an urbane or suave nature—as poet Ezra Pound did when he described "svelte Verona," a city he visited in north Italy.
Origin of svelte
French, from Italian svelto, from past participle of svellere to pluck out, modification of Latin evellere, from e- + vellere to pluck — more at vulnerable
First Known Use: circa 1817
Seen and Heard
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