• WordNet 3.6
    • n subtlety the quality of being difficult to detect or analyze "you had to admire the subtlety of the distinctions he drew"
    • n subtlety a subtle difference in meaning or opinion or attitude "without understanding the finer nuances you can't enjoy the humor","don't argue about shades of meaning"
    • ***
Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
    • Subtlety Nice discernment with delicacy of mental action; nicety of discrimination.
    • Subtlety Something that is sly, crafty, or delusive. "Unlearned in the world's false subtleties ."
    • Subtlety The quality or state of being subtle, or sly; cunning; craftiness; artfulness. "The fox which lives by subtlety ."
    • ***
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
    • n subtlety Same as subtilty, 1.
    • n subtlety Acuteness of intellect; delicacy of discrimination or penetration; intellectual activity; subtility.
    • n subtlety Same as subtilty, 2.
    • n subtlety Slyness; artifice; cunning; craft; stratagem; craftiness; artfulness; wiliness.
    • n subtlety Also subtilty.
    • n subtlety That which is subtle or subtile. Also subtilty. That which is fine-drawn or intricate.
    • n subtlety That which is intellectually acute or nicely discriminating.
    • n subtlety That which is of false appearance; a deception; an illusion.
    • n subtlety Same as subtilty, 6.
    • ***
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
    • ns Subtlety quality of being subtle: artfulness: shrewdness: extreme acuteness
    • ***


  • Oliver Cromwell
    “Subtlety may deceive you; integrity never will.”
  • Francis Bacon
    “The subtlety of nature is greater many times over than the subtlety of the senses and understanding.”
  • Sun Tzu
    “O divine art of subtlety and secrecy! Through you we learn to be invisible, through you inaudible and hence we can hold the enemy's fate in our hands.”
  • Konstantin Stanislavisky
    Konstantin Stanislavisky
    “Success is transient, evanescent. The real passion lies in the poignant acquisition of knowledge about all the shading and subtleties of the creative secrets.”


Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
OE. sotelte, sutilte, OF. sotillete, L. subtilitas,. See Subtle, and cf. Subtility
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
Contr. of subtile.


In literature:

Yet even so, that fact did not wholly explain Glidden and his subtlety.
"The Desert of Wheat" by Zane Grey
But we looked to Solon for a more tenuous subtlety.
"The Boss of Little Arcady" by Harry Leon Wilson
Tom's selection of his first instrument of torture indicated subtlety.
"Bunch Grass" by Horace Annesley Vachell
It exhausted all the subjects which dialectical subtlety ever raised.
"Beacon Lights of History, Volume I" by John Lord
He lived among a people celebrated for subtlety and genius: he never laid himself open to detection.
"Four Early Pamphlets" by William Godwin
A sense of profound defeat, of being ultimately fooled and cozened by the subtleties of white men, filled Peter Siner.
"Birthright" by T.S. Stribling
We need not trouble ourselves with these subtleties.
"Beacon Lights of History, Volume XIII" by John Lord
Her discourses are fables, her vows dissimulations, her conceits subtleties, and her contents varieties.
"Character Writings of the 17th Century" by Various
They have all the craft of monks without their courtesy, and all the subtlety of Jesuits without their learning.
"Coleridge's Literary Remains, Volume 4." by Samuel Taylor Coleridge
Their cunning is as remarkable as their cruelty; what they lack in speed they make up in consummate subtlety.
"Sport and Work on the Nepaul Frontier" by James Inglis

In poetry:

Yet 'twas not won from pearly depths,
Nor gleaned from diamond mine,
Nor all the chemist's subtlety
Its substance could define.
"Mystery Of Carmel" by Madge Morris Wagner
Equals the mountains in his past and future; that glow from the
earth was only
A trick of nature's, one must forgive nature a thousand graceful
"Point Joe" by Robinson Jeffers
This is a song of summer by the sea,
Of subtleties of change, of strange unrest;
Of dreams unfathomable that form and flee
Like drifts of mist above the ocean's breast.
"Summer" by Clinton Scollard
We wear the mask that grins and lies,
It hides our cheeks and shades our eyes,-
This debt we pay to human guile;
With torn and bleeding hearts we smile,
And mouth with myriad subtleties.
"We Wear the Mask" by Paul Laurence Dunbar
What are these nameless mysteries,
These subtleties of life and death,
That bring before our spirit eyes
The loved and lost; or, like a breath
Of lightest air, will touch the cheek,
And yet a wordless language speak?
"Haunted" by Ella Wheeler Wilcox
Then Satan said to Dives: — "Declare thou by The Name,
"The secret of thy subtlety that turneth mine to shame.
"It is known through all the Hells
"How my peoples mocked my spells,
"And my faithless Kings denied me ere I came."
"The Peace of Dives" by Rudyard Kipling

In news:

An Interior of Spiritual and Artistic Subtlety .
"Jackass 3-D": Want Subtlety .
Musicians' Brains and Emotional Subtlety .
Conservation Voters opt for subtlety in attempt to boost Foley.
Subtlety succeeds as NBC spreads buzz.
When it comes to race, Obama makes his point--with subtlety .
Subtleties of Yoruba Art Over the Centuries in Africa.
But his drinks' tastes, aromas and subtleties evidently won over the exacting panel members, some of whom crouched within inches of contestants' hands to gauge grinding grip and tamping technique.
Basketball stars are not known for their subtlety either on or off the court, so why would their choices in body art be any different.
This is not an age of great subtlety in dance pop, generally speaking, but just try telling that to Jessie Ware.
Earnest and Efficient, Romney Spares the Subtlety.
Research suggests that most of us don't or can't taste the subtleties of fine wines.
They are crazy about cricket, a game whose considerable subtleties are lost on all who did not grow up with it but which teaches mental flexibility as well as specific skills.
The Royal Comedians suffers from tragic lack of subtlety.
A lot of thought has gone into the subtleties of the Specialist 's design.

In science:

In string theory, however, the total central charge vanishes; we therefore suppress this subtlety in the present review.
Conformal field theory, boundary conditions and applications to string theory
Analogous subtleties appear in the connection between the antisymmetric part of X and discrete torsion in geometric orbifolds.
Conformal field theory, boundary conditions and applications to string theory
However, there is some subtlety in this picture.
Localization-delocalization phenomena for random interfaces
Taking this subtlety into account, we calculate corrections to scaling for the average resistance and the conductivity.
Corrections to Scaling in Random Resistor Networks and Diluted Continuous Spin Models near the Percolation Threshold
Of course some subtlety must be involved here.
Weak Omega Categories I