subtlety

play
noun sub·tle·ty \ˈsə-təl-tē\

Definition of subtlety

plural

subtleties

  1. 1 :  the quality or state of being subtle

  2. 2 :  something subtle

Examples of subtlety in a sentence

  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 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

subtlety

play
noun sub·tle·ty \ˈsə-təl-tē\

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

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

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!

WORD OF THE DAY

an exhausted condition

Get Word of the Day daily email!

WORD GAMES

Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!

  • peter-bruegel-tower-of-babel-painting
  • What language does pajama come from?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Word Winder's CrossWinder

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

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!