1 a : slender, lithe
b : having even and smooth lines : sleek
2 : urbane, suave
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.
The actress stepped onto the red carpet looking svelte in a figure-hugging dress.
"A trim, more svelte typeface on federal documents would slash the government's ink expenses and could save taxpayers more than $100 million a year in printing costs, an O'Hara-based researcher has found." - From an article by Adam Smeltz in the Pittsburgh Tribune Review, March 29, 2014
Test Your Vocabulary with M-W Quizzes
Name That Antonym
Fill in the blanks to create a word meaning "heavy or rotund of body": prl_. The answer is …
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