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

Definition of svelte

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

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Other Words from svelte

sveltely adverb
svelteness noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for svelte



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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 Because while their svelte frames may have spared you from heavy lifting, they weren't equipped to do much of it themselves. Mike Feibus, USA TODAY, "Incredibly light, agile and portable: Small laptops are hitting above their weight class," 31 Mar. 2021 Those pieces include a reissue of McCobb’s 1951 Pavilion outdoor collection, his Exposior lighting series of the same year, and Connoisseur, a svelte case goods line from 1954. Anna Fixsen, ELLE Decor, "For the First Time in 50 Years, You’ll Be Able to Get Your Hands on Classic Paul McCobb Designs," 25 Mar. 2021 The svelte, radically-looking grand tourer incorporates sustainable materials and comes programmed with autonomous electric driving technology. Morgan Korn, ABC News, "Why 2021 is shaping up to be a pivotal year for electric vehicles," 21 Feb. 2021 One of those is at 247 27th Ave., a quartet of svelte townhomes that rise like matchsticks to a roof-deck with views of the Golden Gate Bridge and beyond. J.k. Dineen, San Francisco Chronicle, "Bay Area cities want to end single-family home zoning, but will it create more housing?," 28 Feb. 2021 Available now, the Away x Serena Williams collection features a line of suitcases, bags, and accessories designed with svelte-functional features and a custom print to reflect Williams' unparalleled sense of style. Cortne Bonilla,, "Serena Williams & Away’s Unlikely Collab Gave Us Wanderlust," 28 Jan. 2021 Thanks to the 30-day program, Haddish lost an additional 10 pounds and now looks forward to toning and strengthening her svelte new figure. Jasmine Grant, Essence, "Tiffany Haddish Unveils Her Slimmed Down Figure After 30-Day Challenge," 21 Jan. 2021 The svelte piece features a halter-style neckline, a cutout torso, and barely-there back detailing that includes a V-string showing off the brand's M logo. Bianca Betancourt, Harper's BAZAAR, "Dua Lipa Is Determined to Make the Thong Dress Happen," 11 Jan. 2021 The small and svelte piece of hardware should fit in well on most any desktop or nightstand without being obtrusive. Corey Gaskin, Ars Technica, "The best accessories and MagSafe gear for your new iPhone 12," 29 Dec. 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

2 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Svelte.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 12 Apr. 2021.

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English Language Learners Definition of svelte

: thin in an attractive or graceful way

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Nglish: Translation of svelte for Spanish Speakers

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