Cambridge Dictionaries online Cambridge Dictionaries online

The most popular online dictionary and thesaurus for learners of English

English definition of “subtle”

See all translations

subtle

adjective uk   /ˈsʌt.əl/ us    /ˈsʌt̬-/ approving
C2 not loud, bright, noticeable, or obvious in any way: The room was painted a subtle shade of pink. The play's message is perhaps too subtle to be understood by young children. small but important: There is a subtle difference between these two plans.C2 achieved in a quiet way that does not attract attention to itself and is therefore good or clever: a subtle plan/suggestion subtle questions
More examples
subtly
adverb uk   /-li/ us  
More examples
This discovery had subtly changed/altered the way I thought about myself.
(Definition of subtle from the Cambridge Advanced Learners Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)
What is the pronunciation of subtle?
Add Cambridge dictionaries to your browser to your website

Definitions of “subtle” in other dictionaries

Word of the Day

hyphen

the symbol -, used to join two words together, or to show that a word has been divided into two parts at the end of one line and the beginning of the next

Word of the Day

Lies, lies, lies!

by Kate Woodford,
February 25, 2015
​​​ According to sociologists (=people who study the relationships between people living in groups), we are good at lying. As a species, we have developed a remarkable ability to deceive each other (= persuade each other that something false is true). Being able to say things that are not true can help with

Read More 

snapchat verb

March 02, 2015
to send someone a message using the photomessaging application Snapchat We used to have a thing until he got a girlfriend. now

Read More