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subtle

sub·tle / ˈsətl/ • adj. (-tler , -tlest ) (esp. of a change or distinction) so delicate or precise as to be difficult to analyze or describe: his language expresses rich and subtle meanings. ∎  (of a mixture or effect) delicately complex and understated: subtle lighting. ∎  making use of clever and indirect methods to achieve something: he tried a more subtle approach. ∎  capable of making fine distinctions: a subtle mind. ∎  arranged in an ingenious and elaborate way. ∎ archaic crafty; cunning. DERIVATIVES: sub·tle·ness n. sub·tly adv.

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subtle

subtle of thin or fine consistency; marked by acumen or fine discrimination. XIV. ME. sutil, sotil — OF. sutil, so(u)til — L. subtīlis, prob. for *subtexlis, *subtēlis, f. *sub texlā, *sub tēlā (passing) under the warp (weaver's term).
So subtlety (-TY2) XIV. — OF. s(o)utilté :- L. subtilitātem. Hence subtly XIV. The var. subtil(e) (- OF. subtil, latinized form of sutil) arose in late ME. and remained till modern times along with subtil(i)ty in arch. or affected use.

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subtle

subtlebattle, cattle, chattel, embattle, prattle, rattle, Seattle, tattle •fractal •cantle, covenantal, mantel, mantle, Prandtl •pastel • Fremantle • tittle-tattle •startle, stratal •Nahuatl •fettle, kettle, metal, mettle, nettle, petal, Popocatépetl, settle •dialectal, rectal •dental, gentle, mental, Oriental, parental, rental •transeptal •festal, vestal •gunmetal •antenatal, fatal, hiatal, natal, neonatal, ratel •beetle, betel, chital, decretal, fetal •blackbeetle •acquittal, belittle, brittle, committal, embrittle, it'll, kittle, little, remittal, skittle, spittle, tittle, victual, whittle •edictal, rictal •lintel, pintle, quintal •Bristol, Chrystal, crystal, pistol •varietal • coital • phenobarbital •orbital • pedestal • sagittal • vegetal •digital • skeletal • Doolittle •congenital, genital, primogenital, urogenital •capital • lickspittle • hospital • marital •entitle, mistitle, recital, requital, title, vital •subtitle • surtitle •axolotl, bottle, dottle, glottal, mottle, pottle, throttle, wattle •fontal, horizontal •hostel, intercostal, Pentecostal •greenbottle • bluebottle • Aristotle •chortle, immortal, mortal, portal •Borstal •anecdotal, sacerdotal, teetotal, total •coastal, postal •subtotal •brutal, footle, pootle, refutal, rootle, tootle •buttle, cuttle, rebuttal, scuttle, shuttle, subtle, surrebuttal •buntal, contrapuntal, frontal •crustal • societal • pivotal •hurtle, kirtle, myrtle, turtle

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