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subtle
in
The Picture of Dorian Gray
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subtle
Used In
The Picture of Dorian Gray
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as in: a subtle difference or thinker Define
not obvious, but understandable by someone with adequate sensitivity and relevant knowledge (perhaps depending upon fine distinctions) or: capable of understanding things that require sensitivity and relevant knowledge (perhaps understanding fine distinctions)
  • the loveliness and subtleties of certain colours

  • There are no more uses of "subtle" identified with this meaning, but check unspecified meaning below.

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  • She used subtle reasoning to expose the absurdity of his argument.
  • She guessed which spices were used by their subtle aromas.

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as in: a subtle poison Define
working in an indirect or hidden way
  • There were poisons so subtle that to know their properties one had to sicken of them.

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  • She is working subtly against us.
  • It is a subtle poison. In small doses, it might never be detected, but eventually your heart will fail.

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unspecified meaning
  • And yet what a subtle magic there was in them!
  • Some subtle influence passed from him to me, and for the first time in my life I saw in the plain woodland the wonder I had always looked for, and always missed.

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  • With his subtle smile, Lord Henry watched him.
  • Lord Henry watched him with a subtle sense of pleasure.
  • He felt that he had known them all, those strange terrible figures that had passed across the stage of the world and made sin so marvellous, and evil so full of subtlety.
  • Eternal youth, infinite passion, pleasures subtle and secret, wild joys and wilder sins—he was to have all these things.
  • There were in it metaphors as monstrous as orchids, and as subtle in colour.
  • The fuming censers, that the grave boys, in their lace and scarlet, tossed into the air like great gilt flowers, had their subtle fascination for him.
  • Was there some subtle affinity between the chemical atoms, that shaped themselves into form and colour on the canvas, and the soul that was within him?
  • Some love might come across his life, and purify him, and shield him from those sins that seemed to be already stirring in spirit and in flesh—those curious unpictured sins whose very mystery lent them their subtlety and their charm.

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  • He would not see Lord Henry any more—would not, at any rate, listen to those subtle poisonous theories that in Basil Hallward’s garden had first stirred within him the passion for impossible things.
  • With subtle and finely-wrought temperaments it is always so.
  • The mere cadence of the sentences, the subtle monotony of their music, so full as it was of complex refrains and movements elaborately repeated, produced in the mind of the lad, as he passed from chapter to chapter, a form of reverie, a malady of dreaming, that made him unconscious of the falling day and creeping shadows.
  • His little dinners, in the settling of which Lord Henry always assisted him, were noted as much for the careful selection and placing of those invited, as for the exquisite taste shown in the decoration of the table, with its subtle symphonic arrangements of exotic flowers, and embroidered cloths, and antique plate of gold and silver.
  • To project one’s soul into some gracious form, and let it tarry there for a moment; to hear one’s own intellectual views echoed back to one with all the added music of passion and youth; to convey one’s temperament into another as though it were a subtle fluid or a strange perfume; there was a real joy in that—perhaps the most satisfying joy left to us in an age so limited and vulgar as our own, an age grossly carnal in its pleasures, and grossly common in its aims….
  • Certainly with hideous iteration the bitten lips of Dorian Gray shaped and reshaped those subtle words that dealt with soul and sense, till he had found in them the full expression, as it were, of his mood, and justified, by intellectual approval, passions that without such justification would still have dominated his temper.
  • But a chance tone of colour in a room or a morning sky, a particular perfume that you had once loved and that brings subtle memories with it, a line from a forgotten poem that you had come across again, a cadence from a piece of music that you had ceased to play—I tell you, Dorian, that it is on things like these that our lives depend.
  • …sensations that would be at once new and delightful, and possess that element of strangeness that is so essential to romance, he would often adopt certain modes of thought that he knew to be really alien to his nature, abandon himself to their subtle influences, and then, having, as it were, caught their colour and satisfied his intellectual curiosity, leave them with that curious indifference that is not incompatible with a real ardour of temperament, and that indeed, according to…
  • Mysticism, with its marvellous power of making common things strange to us, and the subtle antinomianism that always seems to accompany it, moved him for a season; and for a season he inclined to the materialistic doctrines of the Darwinismus movement in Germany, and found a curious pleasure in tracing the thoughts and passions of men to some pearly cell in the brain, or some white nerve in the body, delighting in the conception of the absolute dependence of the spirit on certain…
  • For, while he was but too ready to accept the position that was almost immediately offered to him on his coming of age, and found, indeed, a subtle pleasure in the thought that he might really become to the London of his own day what to imperial Neronian Rome the author of the "Satyricon" once had been, yet in his inmost heart he desired to be something more than a mere arbiter elegantiarum, to be consulted on the wearing of a jewel, or the knotting of a necktie, or the conduct of a…

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To see samples from other sources, click a word sense below:
as in: a subtle poison Define
working in an indirect or hidden way
as in: a subtle shade of blue Define
understated so as not to draw attention to itself
as in: a subtle difference or thinker Define
not obvious, but understandable by someone with adequate sensitivity and relevant knowledge (perhaps depending upon fine distinctions) or: capable of understanding things that require sensitivity and relevant knowledge (perhaps understanding fine distinctions)
Show Multiple Meanings
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