[svelt, sfelt]

adjective, svelt·er, svelt·est.

slender, especially gracefully slender in figure; lithe.
suave; blandly urbane.

Origin of svelte

1810–20; < French < Italian svelto < Vulgar Latin *exvellitus pulled out (replacing Latin ēvulsus, past participle of ēvellere), equivalent to Latin ex- ex-1 + velli-, variant stem of vellere to pull, pluck + -tus past participle suffix Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for svelte

Contemporary Examples of svelte

Historical Examples of svelte

  • I'd also like to meet the svelte one with store puffs and sorrel hair.

    The Gay Rebellion

    Robert W. Chambers

  • Tall, svelte, and as far as Jacques Dantin could see, she was young.

  • Jenny, being little and svelte, was distressed by the prevalent sumptuousness.


    Compton Mackenzie

  • Bella was slender and svelte, with long straight soft beautiful silken pale red hair and white-lidded eyes of grayish green.

    I, Mary MacLane

    Mary MacLane

  • Lucy Carteret challenged Telfer to a game; she has a tall, svelte figure, and knows she looks well at billiards.

British Dictionary definitions for svelte



attractively or gracefully slim; slender
urbane or sophisticated

Word Origin for svelte

C19: from French, from Italian svelto, from svellere to pull out, from Latin ēvellere, from ex- 1 + vellere to pull
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

Word Origin and History for svelte

"slender, lithe," c.1817, from French svelte "slim, slender," from Italian svelto "slim, slender," originally "pulled out, lengthened," from past participle of svellere "to pluck or root out," from Vulgar Latin *exvellere, from Latin ex- "out" (see ex-) + vellere "to pluck, stretch."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper