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subtlety

[suht-l-tee] /ˈsʌt l ti/
noun, plural 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.
History/Historical. an elaborate confection, ornate in construction and ornamentation, sometimes edible but more often made and used as a decoration for a table or buffet.
Origin of subtlety
1300-1350
1300-50; Middle English subtelte, sutilte < Old French sutilte < Latin subtīlitāt- (stem of subtīlitās) fineness, equivalent to subtīli(s) subtile + -tāt- -ty2
Related forms
hypersubtlety, noun
nonsubtlety, noun, plural nonsubtleties.
oversubtlety, noun, plural oversubtleties.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for subtleties
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • When she wasn't there I tried to reason myself out of these subtleties.

    The Greater Inclination Edith Wharton
  • The staff-captain did not understand these subtleties, shook his head, and smiled slyly.

    A Hero of Our Time M. Y. Lermontov
  • But these and other subtleties of language escaped the observation of Plato.

    Cratylus Plato
  • What but subtleties of the Scotists: quiddities, formalities, etc.!

  • The subtleties of passion are now realised for the first time.

    John Lyly John Dover Wilson
British Dictionary definitions for subtleties

subtlety

/ˈsʌtəltɪ/
noun (pl) -ties
1.
the state or quality of being subtle; delicacy
2.
a fine distinction or the ability to make such a distinction
3.
something subtle
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for subtleties

subtlety

n.

mid-14c., from Old French soutilte, from Latin subtilitatem (nominative subtilitas), noun of quality from subtilis (see subtle).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Word Value for subtleties

12
15
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