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Houghton Mifflin

sub·tle  audio  (stl) KEY 

ADJECTIVE:
sub·tler, sub·tlest
    1. So slight as to be difficult to detect or describe; elusive: a subtle smile.
    2. Difficult to understand; abstruse: an argument whose subtle point was lost on her opponent.
  1. Able to make fine distinctions: a subtle mind.
    1. Characterized by skill or ingenuity; clever.
    2. Crafty or sly; devious.
    3. Operating in a hidden, usually injurious way; insidious: a subtle poison.

ETYMOLOGY:
Middle English sotil, from Old French, from Latin subtlis; see teks- in Indo-European roots

OTHER FORMS:
subtle·ness(Noun), subtly(Adverb)


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