Definition of subtle adjective from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary


; ˈsʌtl
subtler, subtlest
more subtle is also common
1 (often approving) not very noticeable or obvioussubtle colours/flavours/smells, etc.There are subtle differences between the two versions.The fragrance is a subtle blend of jasmine and sandalwood.She's been dropping subtle hints about what she'd like as a present.2 (of a person or their behaviour) behaving in a clever way, and using indirect methods, in order to achieve somethingI decided to try a more subtle approach.3 organized in a clever waya subtle plana subtle use of lighting in the play4 good at noticing and understanding thingsThe job required a subtle mind.subtly
; ˈsʌtli
adverbHer version of events is subtly different from what actually happened.Not very subtly, he raised the subject of money.Government policy has already shifted subtly.