Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • adj. Slender or graceful in figure or outline; slim.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. Attractively thin; gracefully slender.
  • adj. refined, delicate

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adj. being of delicate or slender build
  • adj. moving and bending with ease
  • adj. showing a high degree of refinement and the assurance that comes from wide social experience

Etymologies

French, from Italian svelto, from past participle of svellere, to stretch out, from Vulgar Latin *exvellere, from Latin ēvellere : ē, ex-, ex- + vellere, to pull.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From French svelte, from Italian svelto ("stretched out"), from Vulgar Latin exvellere: ex + vellere ("to pluck, stretch"). (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • Meanwhile, making me feel nice and svelte is Kenneth Brumley, half a ton and taking in 30,000 calories a day.

    Animals

  • Shed never been what you might call svelte, but then she had left town and gone to live in Baltimore, and by the time she came back shed piled on the pounds.

    The Lovers

  • Nashville, where she lives with husband Keith Urban looking remarkably svelte, which is all the more amazing as she gave birth just ten days ago.

    WN.com - Articles related to Nicole Kidman and Keith Urban get the festive feeling as they shop for Christmas decorations

  • Boldly defying his own "svelte" President, Crawford called upon his nation to enter the fat race, concluding with a rousing echo of Churchill:

    The War on Fat

  • They have to beat around the bush and chase their friends to the swamps by throwing things like "svelte" at them.

    The Wit and Humor of America, Volume I. (of X.)

  • Our server was Chenoa, who I’ve already described as a svelte-er, softer, smarter version of Kelly Osbourne.

    For the Locals - Osteria Latini, Take 3

  • The Swedish blonde for whom the word 'svelte' seems especially fitting, she crafted iconic portraits with Horst P. Horst,

    GoodShit

  • So the netbook proved the market for, not necessarily thin-client, but a sort of "svelte" client-a slimmed down ...

    Ars Technica

  • He, like Jenkins, would have to bulk up from his "svelte" 265 to stay on the line.

    SB Nation Featured Posts

  • It looks nothing like the kind of svelte, compact instrument that - perhaps on a mission planned for launch in 2018 - could travel the millions of kilometres from Earth to Mars and operate without a hitch on the planet's harsh surface.

    New Scientist - Space

Comments

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  • I think this is a really sexy word. I don't know why.

    August 2, 2008

  • I think it has too many meanings to use correctly. For example, svelte means that you are refined, but it also means you are lean(lacking excess flesh). But, you can also be fat and be svelte, right?

    August 2, 2008

  • Googling reveals several rock bands called Svelte. One has lyrics on its website. Cool.

    February 3, 2007