svelte

play
adjective \ˈsvelt, ˈsfelt\

Definition of svelte

svelter

;

sveltest

  1. 1a :  slender, litheb :  having clean lines :  sleek

  2. 2 :  urbane, suave

sveltely

adverb

svelteness

noun

svelte was our Word of the Day on 04/30/2014. Hear the podcast!

Examples of svelte in a Sentence

  1. She has a svelte figure.

  2. the svelte dancer seemed to float across the stage

Recent Examples of svelte from the Web

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.

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 and Etymology 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


SVELTE Defined for English Language Learners

svelte

play
adjective

Definition of svelte for English Language Learners

  • : thin in an attractive or graceful way



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