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

Definition of svelte

b : having clean lines : sleek

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Other Words from svelte

sveltely adverb
svelteness noun

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.

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 Nuggets franchise center Nikola Jokic has a svelte new look, but his health will be closely-monitored after testing positive for COVID-19 late last month. Matt Eppers, USA TODAY, "Where were we? The state of the NBA playoff picture as the season resumes in Orlando," 31 July 2020 Once more, the little car company that can from Hiroshima, Japan has delivered a svelte little automotive bon-bon sure to win the hearts of automotive enthusiasts and design junkies. Tribune News Service, cleveland, "The 2020 Mazda CX-30 is just right," 6 June 2020 But Rolls doesn't build a torpedo as svelte and as classically proportioned as the DB7 and probably never will. John Phillips, Car and Driver, "Tested: 1996 Aston Martin DB7 Volante Makes the English Sports-Car Brand Relevant Again," 20 May 2020 The model is svelte enough to lift over knee-high snowbanks and best for small jobs. Popular Science, "Electric snow blowers that ease the pain of shoveling," 23 Jan. 2020 Commentary over Adele looking svelte came after photos were published of her on the beach in the British territory of Anguilla. Lisa Respers France, CNN, "Adele lost weight, are we allowed to praise that?," 6 May 2020 Others see the praise for her appearance as affirmation that beauty standards are mistakenly centered on being svelte. Stephanie Toone, ajc, "Adele’s birthday Instagram post prompts conversation about weight, beauty standards," 6 May 2020 To determine just how stocky or svelte to render a species, paleontologists most often refer to the same muscle groups in birds. Popular Science, "How do we know what dinosaurs looked like?," 11 Apr. 2020 This svelte and compact driver is also a pleasure to use. Roy Berendson, Popular Mechanics, "The Popular Mechanics 2020 Tool Awards," 18 Mar. 2020

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.

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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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Time Traveler for svelte

Time Traveler

The first known use of svelte was circa 1817

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Last Updated

11 Aug 2020

Cite this Entry

“Svelte.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 15 Aug. 2020.

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More Definitions for svelte


How to pronounce svelte (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of svelte

: thin in an attractive or graceful way

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More from Merriam-Webster on svelte

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for svelte

Spanish Central: Translation of svelte

Nglish: Translation of svelte for Spanish Speakers

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