• synonyms


[suht-l-ahyz, suhb-tuh-lahyz]
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verb (used with object), sub·til·ized, sub·til·iz·ing.
  1. to elevate in character; sublimate.
  2. to make (the mind, senses, etc.) keen or discerning; sharpen.
  3. to introduce subtleties into or argue subtly about.
  4. to make thin, rare, or more fluid or volatile; refine.
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verb (used without object), sub·til·ized, sub·til·iz·ing.
  1. to make subtle distinctions or to argue subtly.
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Also especially British, sub·til·ise.

Origin of subtilize

1585–95; < Medieval Latin subtīlizāre, equivalent to subtīl(is) subtle + -izāre -ize
Related formssub·til·i·za·tion, nounsub·til·iz·er, nounsu·per·sub·til·ized, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words


Examples from the Web for subtilize

Historical Examples

  • Its Office is to Subtilize the Blood by cleansing and refining it.

    The Compleat Surgeon, or the Whole Art of Surgery Explain'd in a Most Familiar Method

    Charles Gabriel Le Clerc

British Dictionary definitions for subtilize



  1. (tr) to bring to a purer state; refine
  2. to debate subtly
  3. (tr) to make (the mind, etc) keener
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Derived Formssubtilization 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