Mystery vs Subtle - What's the difference?

mystery | subtle |

As a noun mystery

is something secret or unexplainable; an unknown.

As an adjective subtle is

hard to grasp; not obvious or easily understood; barely noticeable.




  • Something secret or unexplainable; an unknown.
  • *{{quote-book, year=1927, author= F. E. Penny
  • , chapter=4, title= Pulling the Strings , passage=The case was that of a murder. It had an element of mystery about it, however, which was puzzling the authorities. A turban and loincloth soaked in blood had been found; also a staff.}}
  • Someone or something with an obscure or puzzling nature.
  • * (Jonathan Swift) (1667–1745)
  • If God should please to reveal unto us this great mystery of the Trinity, or some other mysteries in our holy religion, we should not be able to understand them, unless he would bestow on us some new faculties of the mind.
  • * {{quote-book, year=1905, author=
  • , title= , chapter=5 citation , passage=Then I had a good think on the subject of the hocussing of Cigarette, and I was reluctantly bound to admit that once again the man in the corner had found the only possible solution to the mystery .}}
  • (label) A particular event or series of events in the life of Christ.
  • A secret religious celebration, to which none were admitted except those who had been initiated.
  • Synonyms

    * roun (obsolete)

    Derived terms

    * mysterious * mystery play


    * Mysteries:
  • S9
  • subtle


    Alternative forms

    * subtil (obsolete) * subtile (obsolete)


  • Hard to grasp; not obvious or easily understood; barely noticeable.
  • The difference is subtle , but you can hear it if you listen carefully.
  • (of a thing) Cleverly contrived.
  • (of a person or animal) Cunning, skillful.
  • insidious
  • * 1623 , , act iv, scene 4,
  • Thy age confirmed, proud, subtle , bloody, treacherous.
  • Tenuous; rarefied; of low density or thin consistency.
  • Synonyms

    * crafty, cunning, skillful * (insidious) insidious


    * (hard to grasp) simple

    Derived terms

    * subtle body * subtleness * subtlety * subtly


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