1. The quality or state of being subtile; thinness; fineness; as, the subtility of air or light.

2. Refinement; extreme acuteness; subtlety. "Intelligible discourses are spoiled by too much subtility in nice divisions." (Locke)

3. Cunning; skill; craft. "To learn a lewd man this subtility." (Chaucer)

4. Slyness in design; artifice; guile; a cunning design or artifice; a trick; subtlety. "O full of all subtility and all mischief." (Acts xiii. 10)

In senses 2, 3, and 4 the word is more commonly written subtlety.

Origin: Contr. Fr. Subtility.

(01 Mar 1998)

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