Definition of subtlety
1 : the quality or state of being subtle
2 : something subtle
Examples of subtlety in a Sentence
The pianist performed with subtlety and passion.
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
Recent Examples of subtlety from the Web
W. Leo Smith, an ichthyologist at the University of Kansas’s Biodiversity Institute, disagrees based on subtleties of tail coloration.
But as Borger shows us with great subtlety and surety, Lucille Frank eventually realizes that the forces amassed against her husband have nothing to do with any potential guilt.
The two main stories were intercut with the subtlety of someone flipping channels.
This is Wessex under the rule of the famous Alfred the Great (played with excellent subtlety by David Dawson).
Ever the politician, Clinton has decades of practice in the art of subtlety.
Many felt that Go, with its strategic subtlety and massive number of possible board states, would prove a bulwark against the encroachment of computers on human abilities.
In this eloquent performance, the concerto’s subtleties were its selling points.
Then there’s the snob argument: There just aren’t that many people out there smart enough to appreciate the amazing intelligence and subtlety of my songs.
These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'subtlety'. Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.
Origin and Etymology of subtlety
Middle English sotilte, subtilte, from Anglo-French sotilté, from Latin subtilitat-, subtilitas, from subtilis
First Known Use: 14th century
SUBTLETY Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of subtlety for English Language Learners
: the quality or state of being subtle
: a small detail that is usually important but not obvious
Seen and Heard
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