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subtlety

[suht-l-tee] /ˈsʌt l ti/
noun, plural subtleties.
1.
the state or quality of being subtle.
2.
delicacy or nicety of character or meaning.
3.
acuteness or penetration of mind; delicacy of discrimination.
4.
a fine-drawn distinction; refinement of reasoning:
the subtleties of logic.
5.
something subtle.
6.
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.
Origin
1300-1350
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.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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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

subtlety

/ˈsʌtəltɪ/
noun (pl) -ties
1.
the state or quality of being subtle; delicacy
2.
a fine distinction or the ability to make such a distinction
3.
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
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Word Origin and History for subtleties

subtlety

n.

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

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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12
15
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