subtlety

noun
sub·​tle·​ty | \ ˈsə-tᵊl-tē How to pronounce subtlety (audio) \
plural subtleties

Definition of subtlety

1 : the quality or state of being subtle
2 : something subtle

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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 on the Web

My first two pregnancies have been gradually becoming more proprioceptive, more attuned to the subtleties that are going on [in my body]. Nicole Cliffe, SELF, "Alanis Morissette on Pregnancy at 45, Childbirth, Postpartum Depression, and #MeToo," 26 June 2019 Though not large of voice, Stoyanova offered the virtues of subtlety and restraint. Howard Reich, chicagotribune.com, "CSO review: Muti kicks off season’s end with sumptuous ‘Aida’," 22 June 2019 Neither acting nor subtlety of musical phrasing are major parts of the job here. Sarah L. Kaufman, Washington Post, "The Washington Ballet let Brooklyn Mack go. The popular dancer landed at the Metropolitan Opera House.," 18 June 2019 The language of intersectionality is popular among liberals and on the left, used to denote the speaker’s attention to the subtleties of structural oppression. Zack Beauchamp, Vox, "The 9 thinkers who made sense of 2018’s chaos," 27 Dec. 2018 For complexity and subtlety of message, James Primosch’s Two Sketches captured quite a lot. Peter Dobrin, Philly.com, "Network for New Music's Linda Reichert feted with new works," 30 Apr. 2018 But its title track, combining stride piano, strings and an evocative lyric, displays a subtlety Dr. John wouldn’t fully commit to again. Morgan Enos, Billboard, "R.I.P. Dr. John: 10 Essential Cuts from the Soul, Funk and Boogie Woogie Great," 7 June 2019 Daniel Ulbricht, always sparky and engaging, keeps gaining subtlety; but Andrew Veyette, another source of virile humor, is showing a few signs of coarseness. Alastair Macaulay, New York Times, "New York City Ballet Is in Limbo, but in Bloom," 31 May 2018 With Chloe designing womenswear and Parris handling the brand’s jewelry offering, their designs fuse feminine tailoring with a sophisticated subtlety that sets them apart. Mosha Lundström Halbert, Vogue, "The Cool Girl’s Guide to Toronto," 27 Dec. 2018

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.

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First Known Use of subtlety

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for subtlety

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

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Learn More about subtlety

Dictionary Entries near subtlety

subtitle

subtitular

subtle

subtlety

subtone

subtonic

subtopia

Statistics for subtlety

Last Updated

11 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for subtlety

The first known use of subtlety was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for subtlety

subtlety

noun

English Language Learners Definition of subtlety

: the quality or state of being subtle
: a small detail that is usually important but not obvious

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More from Merriam-Webster on subtlety

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for subtlety

Spanish Central: Translation of subtlety

Nglish: Translation of subtlety for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of subtlety for Arabic Speakers

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