How do you spell Hannukah?


[suht-l-tee] /ˈsʌt l ti/
noun, plural subtleties.
the state or quality of being subtle.
delicacy or nicety of character or meaning.
acuteness or penetration of mind; delicacy of discrimination.
a fine-drawn distinction; refinement of reasoning:
the subtleties of logic.
something subtle.
History/Historical. an elaborate confection, ornate in construction and ornamentation, sometimes edible but more often made and used as a decoration for a table or buffet.
1300-50; Middle English subtelte, sutilte < Old French sutilte < Latin subtīlitāt- (stem of subtīlitās) fineness, equivalent to subtīli(s) subtile + -tāt- -ty2
Related forms
hypersubtlety, noun
nonsubtlety, noun, plural nonsubtleties.
oversubtlety, noun, plural oversubtleties. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
Cite This Source
Examples from the web for subtleties
  • Reading is a subtle thing, and its subtleties are artifacts of a venerable medium: words printed in ink on paper.
  • The subtleties of choosing between thou and you could make for great literature.
  • Each rock type requires a different microwave recipe, for there are many subtleties involved.
  • New findings in neurology always seem to come with the caveat that there are subtleties that need to be explained.
  • But in fact suit combinations present endless subtleties.
  • Of course the subtleties are deeper and more profound than this.
  • The dark-ages organization of the science business prevents us from grasping the underlying subtleties.
  • And written words will never contain the vast subtleties of rhythm and intonation which are essential to any language.
  • Without the computer model to guide them, the researchers may not have detected such subtleties.
  • Both pictures conjure up the subtleties of human relationships.
British Dictionary definitions for subtleties


noun (pl) -ties
the state or quality of being subtle; delicacy
a fine distinction or the ability to make such a distinction
something subtle
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
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for subtleties



mid-14c., from Old French soutilte, from Latin subtilitatem (nominative subtilitas), noun of quality from subtilis (see subtle).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Difficulty index for subtlety

Most English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for subtleties

Scrabble Words With Friends

Quotes with subtleties