[ suht-l-ahyz, suhb-tuh-lahyz ]
/ ˈsʌt lˌaɪz, ˈsʌb təˌlaɪz /

verb (used with object), sub·til·ized, sub·til·iz·ing.

to elevate in character; sublimate.
to make (the mind, senses, etc.) keen or discerning; sharpen.
to introduce subtleties into or argue subtly about.
to make thin, rare, or more fluid or volatile; refine.

verb (used without object), sub·til·ized, sub·til·iz·ing.

to make subtle distinctions or to argue subtly.


Also especially British, sub·til·ise.

Origin of subtilize

1585–95; < Medieval Latin subtīlizāre, equivalent to subtīl(is) subtle + -izāre -ize

Related forms

sub·til·i·za·tion, nounsub·til·iz·er, nounsu·per·sub·til·ized, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for subtilize

British Dictionary definitions for subtilize



/ (ˈsʌtɪˌlaɪz) /


(tr) to bring to a purer state; refine
to debate subtly
(tr) to make (the mind, etc) keener

Derived Forms

subtilization or subtilisation, nounsubtilizer or subtiliser, noun
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