\ ˈsvelt How to pronounce svelte (audio) , ˈsfelt \
svelter; sveltest

Definition of svelte

1a : slender, lithe
b : having clean lines : sleek
2 : urbane, suave

Other Words from svelte

sveltely adverb
svelteness noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for svelte



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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.

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Examples of svelte in a Sentence

She has a svelte figure. the svelte dancer seemed to float across the stage
Recent Examples on the Web The svelte, 34-minute Dropout Boogie — which comes out the day before the 20th anniversary of their first album — keeps things similarly crunchy. Joe Gross, Rolling Stone, 11 May 2022 Penned by designer Alan Derosie, known for his striking Porsche 908 concept, the car has a svelte, carbon-fiber body and a futuristic feel. Rachel Cormack, Robb Report, 5 May 2022 Because obedience to aerodynamics forbids anything like the grandiose form factor of the GLS-class, the EQS SUV looks more like a svelte but stout wagon. Jonathon Ramsey, Car and Driver, 19 Apr. 2022 For now, Wright is a player the Browns fell in love with during the draft process, who arrived at UAB a svelte 210 pounds and left at 270 and might still have room to grow into his frame more. Dan Labbe, cleveland, 30 Apr. 2022 This svelte Keurig keeps the countertop tidy but still has a large water reservoir in the back. Paige Szmodis, Popular Mechanics, 25 Apr. 2022 To make people aware that Interstate 80 is shutting down in Salt Lake City this weekend, the Utah Department of Transportation employed a svelte Shrek dancing in a TikTok video this week. Scott D. Pierce, The Salt Lake Tribune, 8 Apr. 2022 Having a more svelte center was critical for the Cardinals. Brett Dawson, The Courier-Journal, 28 Feb. 2022 The form fit is svelte enough to easily accommodate a shell on rainy or snowy runs. Adam Chase, Outside Online, 17 Nov. 2020 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'svelte.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of svelte

circa 1817, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for 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

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The first known use of svelte was circa 1817

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Last Updated

20 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Svelte.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 29 May. 2022.

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More from Merriam-Webster on svelte

Nglish: Translation of svelte for Spanish Speakers


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