[ 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.


Nearby words

  1. subthreshold stimulus,
  2. subtile,
  3. subtilely,
  4. subtilisin,
  5. subtility,
  6. subtilty,
  7. subtitle,
  8. subtitled,
  9. subtle,
  10. subtlety

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 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 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