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Subtle, 1) thin, fine, nice, delicate: “it must needs be of s., tender and delicate temperance,” Tp. II, 1, 41. “some joy too fine, too s., potent,” Troil. III, 2, 25 (M. Edd. subtle-potent). “a point as s. as Ariachne's broken woof,” V, 2, 151.
2) sly, artful, cunning: “am I politic? am I s.?” Wiv. III, 1, 103. “s. as Sphinx,” LLL IV, 3, 342. “a s. traitor needs no sophister,” H6B V, 1, 191. “Warwick is a s. orator,” H6C III, 1, 33. “incensed by his s. mother to taunt and scorn you,” R3 III, 1, 152. “nor sweeten talk, nor play at s. games,” Troil. IV, 4, 89. bolder, though not so s. (as the devil) Cor. I, 10, 17. “the s. queen of Goths,” Tit. I, 392. the swift, the slow, the s. (dog) Mcb. III, 1, 96. “s. as the fox for prey,” Cymb. III, 3, 40.
3) acting under the cover of a false appearance; being other than in seeming; deceptious, treacherous: “the s. shining secrecies writ in the glassy margents of such books,” Lucr. 101 (secrecies hid under a false show, but well discernible to the eye of a man of experience). swift s. post, 926 (moving imperceptibly and approaching unawares). “to mock the s. in themselves beguiled,” Lucr. 101 “as s. Sinon here is painted, so sober, sad, so weary and so mild,” Lucr. 101 “in him a plenitude of s. matter, applied to cautels, all strange forms receives,” Compl. 302. “smooth not thy tongue with filed talk, lest she some s. practice smell,” Pilgr. 307. “a delicate wench. Ay, and a s.” Tp. II, 1, 44. “thou s., perjured, false, disloyal man,” Gent. IV, 2, 95. “she is too s. for thee, and her smoothness, her very silence and her patience speak to the people,” As I, 3, 79. “I feel these youth's perfections with an invisible and s. stealth to creep in at mine eyes,” Tw. I, 5, 316 (i. e. imperceptible; or rather not sufficiently guarded against, as not seeming dangerous at first). “this s. king,” H4A I, 3, 169. “a s. knave! but yet it shall not serve,” H6B II, 1, 104 (playing the innocent). “s., false and treacherous,” R3 I, 1, 37. “the s. traitor this day had plotted . . . to murder me,” III, 5, 37. “thy age confirmed, proud, s., bloody,” IV, 4, 171. “he is equal ravenous as he is s.” H8 I, 1, 160. “like to a bowl upon a s. ground, I have tumbled past the throw,” Cor. V, 2, 20 (seeming smooth and even, but in fact uneven and treacherous). “what s. hole is this, whose mouth is covered with rude-growing briers,” Tit. II, 3, 198. “when s. Greeks surprised King Priam's Troy,” V, 3, 84. “suck the s. blood o' the grape, till the high fever seethe your blood to froth,” Tim. IV, 3, 432 (running glibly over the palate, but heating the blood. German: heimtückisch). “is not thy kindness s.” Tim. IV, 3, 432 “let our hearts, as s. masters do, stir up their servants to an act of rage, and after seem to chide 'em,” Caes. II, 1, 175. “a slipper and s. knave,” Oth. II, 1, 246. “this is a s. whore,” IV, 2, 21.
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