subtlety


subtlety
/sut"l tee/, n., pl. subtleties.
1. the state or quality of being subtle.
2. delicacy or nicety of character or meaning.
3. acuteness or penetration of mind; delicacy of discrimination.
4. a fine-drawn distinction; refinement of reasoning: the subtleties of logic.
5. something subtle.
6. Hist. an elaborate confection, ornate in construction and ornamentation, sometimes edible but more often made and used as a decoration for a table or buffet.
[1300-50; ME subtelte, sutilte < OF sutilte < L subtilitat- (s. of subtilitas) fineness, equiv. to subtili(s) SUBTILE + -tat- -TY2]

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Universalium. 2010.

Synonyms:

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Subtlety — Sub tle*ty, n.; pl. {Subtleties}. [OE. sotelte, sutilte, OF. sotillete, L. subtilitas. See {Subtle}, and cf. {Subtility}.] 1. The quality or state of being subtle, or sly; cunning; craftiness; artfulness. [1913 Webster] The fox which lives by… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • subtlety — index discretion (quality of being discreet), evasion, nuance, subterfuge, technicality Burton s Legal Thesaurus. William C. Burton. 2006 …   Law dictionary

  • subtlety — mid 14c., from O.Fr. soutilte, from L. subtilitatem (nom. subtilitas), noun of quality from subtilis (see SUBTLE (Cf. subtle)) …   Etymology dictionary

  • subtlety — [sut′ ltē] n. [ME sutelte < OFr sotillete < L subtilitas] 1. the quality or condition of being subtle; esp., the ability or tendency to make fine distinctions 2. pl. subtleties something subtle; esp., a fine distinction …   English World dictionary

  • subtlety — noun ADJECTIVE ▪ extreme, great, real VERB + SUBTLETY ▪ have ▪ Her dancing has great subtlety. ▪ display …   Collocations dictionary

  • subtlety — [[t]sʌ̱t(ə)lti[/t]] subtleties 1) N COUNT: usu pl, usu with supp, oft N of n Subtleties are very small details or differences which are not obvious. His fascination with the subtleties of human behaviour makes him a good storyteller... When a… …   English dictionary

  • subtlety — noun 1) the subtlety of the flavor Syn: delicacy, delicateness, subtleness; understatedness, mutedness, softness 2) classification is fraught with subtlety Syn: fineness, subtleness, niceness, nicety, nuance …   Thesaurus of popular words

  • subtlety — UK [ˈsʌt(ə)ltɪ] / US noun Word forms subtlety : singular subtlety plural subtleties 1) [uncountable] the quality of being complicated, delicate, or difficult to notice, often in a skilful or attractive way There is no subtlety at all about his… …   English dictionary

  • Subtlety — A subtlety (also sotelty or soteltie ) was an elaborate form of dish common during the late Middle Ages in Europe, particularly in England and France. [Laurioux, Bruno, Les livres de cuisine en Occident à la fin du Moyen Age , Thèse de doctorat:… …   Wikipedia

  • subtlety — sub|tle|ty [ˈsʌtlti] n plural subtleties 1.) [U] the quality that something has when it has been done in a clever or skilful way, with careful attention to small details ▪ The play lacks subtlety. ▪ She argued her case with considerable subtlety …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • subtlety — sub|tle|ty [ sʌtlti ] noun 1. ) uncount the quality of being complicated, delicate, or difficult to notice, often in a skillful or attractive way: There is no subtlety at all about his painting. Hickey s performance was magnificent in its… …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English


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