un·​sub·​tle | \ ˌən-ˈsə-tᵊl How to pronounce unsubtle (audio) \
unsubtler; unsubtlest

Definition of unsubtle

: not indirect or difficult to perceive : not subtle an unsubtle hint/reminder Historical records suggest that subtle variations in the sun's energy output can have decidedly unsubtle effects on the earth's climate …— M. Mitchell Waldrop

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from unsubtle

unsubtly \ ˌən-​ˈsət-​lē How to pronounce unsubtly (audio) , -​ˈsə-​tᵊl-​(l)ē \ adverb

Examples of unsubtle in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Mendes said from the stage in an unsubtle swipe at Netflix. Nicole Sperling, New York Times, "‘Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood’ and ‘1917’ Win Top Awards at Golden Globes," 5 Jan. 2020 Nixon’s was an unsubtle appeal to one America — patiently patriotic in a time of growing war-time dissent — over another, and was divisive on purpose, if quietly so. BostonGlobe.com, "Fifty years ago Sunday night, President Richard M. Nixon sat in the Oval Office and delivered a nationally televised speech whose content is almost universally forgotten today, but, like so many major presidential addresses, is remembered for one phrase: “silent majority.’’," 3 Nov. 2019 The Eisenhower administration was angered by Egyptian president Gamal Abdel Nasser’s espousal of Cold War neutrality and his rather unsubtle efforts to play the Soviet and Western blocs off against each other. Conrad Black, National Review, "Soleimani Killing: A Change for the Better?," 15 Jan. 2020 Europeans shrugged off that unsubtle attempt to sow divisions. The Economist, "The West is now surer that China is not about to liberalise," 14 Nov. 2019 To this, Basgallop adds heavy religiosity, grotesque caricatures of rural Americans, and a decaying hunk of meat whose symbolism is both entirely tasteless and shoutingly unsubtle. Sophie Gilbert, The Atlantic, "What Makes Apple TV+’s Servant So Callous," 28 Nov. 2019 Inside, there’s a counter, three small tables and a portrait of Pierce hanging on distinctly unsubtle red- and green-tiled walls. Dominic Armato, azcentral, "Harold's Chicken Shack is a Chicago icon. Here's what to try at the first Arizona location," 20 Nov. 2019 Hildur Guðnadóttir's eerie and propulsive score also underlines the shock value of the plot (although the period song score, featuring Sinatra songs among others, is occasionally too unsubtle and on point). Scott Feinberg, The Hollywood Reporter, ""Outstanding," "Irresponsible": Oscar Voters React to 'Joker,' With Many Avoiding It," 7 Oct. 2019 The endeavor even has marquee branding to match that goal: Artemis, the twin sister of Apollo in Greek mythology, an unsubtle sign that NASA is attempting not only to reach the lunar surface but to recall its glory days. Christian Davenport, Washington Post, "As NASA relives its biggest triumph, there are worries it won’t be able to do it again," 19 July 2019

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

See More

First Known Use of unsubtle

15th century, in the meaning defined above

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about unsubtle

Time Traveler for unsubtle

Time Traveler

The first known use of unsubtle was in the 15th century

See more words from the same century

Statistics for unsubtle

Last Updated

7 Apr 2020

Cite this Entry

“Unsubtle.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/unsubtle. Accessed 3 Jun. 2020.

More from Merriam-Webster on unsubtle

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for unsubtle

Comments on unsubtle

What made you want to look up unsubtle? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


See Definitions and Examples »

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

May 2020 Words of the Day Quiz

  • a blooming wisteria tree
  • Which is a synonym of exiguous?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!