One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1Cunning, craftiness; = "subtlety".
2Skill; ingenuity; = "subtlety".
3Refinement in argument or speculation; (excessive) use of fine distinctions.
4An instance of this; a fine point; a nicety; = "subtlety". Usually in plural.
5Thinness, tenuity, penetrativeness; = "subtlety". Now historical.
Now somewhat archaic in most senses. Chiefly superseded by subtlety
Late Middle English; earliest use found in John Gower (d. 1408), poet. Probably partly (i) from Anglo-Norman and Middle French subtilité, Middle French subtillité, variants of Anglo-Norman sotilité, sutilité, sutilitie, Old French soutillité, sutillité, Old French, Middle French soutilité subtlety;.
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