1810-20; < French < Italiansvelto < Vulgar Latin*exvellitus pulled out (replacing Latinēvulsus, past participle of ēvellere), equivalent to Latinex-ex- + velli-, variant stem of vellere to pull, pluck + -tus past participle suffix
"slender, lithe," c.1817, from Fr. svelte "slim, slender," from It. svelto "slim, slender," originally "pulled out, lengthened," from pp. of svellere "to pluck or root out," from V.L. *exvellere, from L. ex- "out" + vellere "to pluck, stretch."