Definitions for: Subtle

[adj] faint and difficult to analyze; "subtle aromas"
[adj] working or spreading in a hidden and usually injurious way; "glaucoma is an insidious disease"; "a subtle poison"
[adj] be difficult to detect or grasp by the mind; "his whole attitude had undergone a subtle change"; "a subtle difference"; "that elusive thing the soul"
[adj] able to make fine distinctions; "a subtle mind"

Webster (1913) Definition: Sub"tle, a. [Compar. Subtler; superl. Subtlest.]
[OE. sotil, subtil, OF. soutil, later subtil, F. subtil, L.
subtilis; probably, originally, woven fine, and fr. sub under
+ tela a web, fr. texere to weave. See Text, and cf.
1. Sly in design; artful; cunning; insinuating; subtile; --
applied to persons; as, a subtle foe. ``A subtle
traitor.'' --Shak.

2. Cunningly devised; crafty; treacherous; as, a subtle

3. Characterized by refinement and niceness in drawing
distinctions; nicely discriminating; -- said of persons;
as, a subtle logician; refined; tenuous; sinuous;
insinuating; hence, penetrative or pervasive; -- said of
the mind; its faculties, or its operations; as, a subtle
intellect; a subtle imagination; a subtle process of
thought; also, difficult of apprehension; elusive.

Things remote from use, obscure and subtle.

4. Smooth and deceptive. [Obs.]

Like to a bowl upon a subtle ground [bowling
ground]. --Shak.

Syn: Artful; crafty; cunning; shrewd; sly; wily.

Usage: Subtle is the most comprehensive of these epithets and
implies the finest intellectual quality. See Shrewd,
and Cunning.

Synonyms: delicate, elusive, harmful, impalpable, insidious, perceptive, pernicious

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