The Meaning of Svelte: What It Is and How To Use It

Have you ever been confused by the definition of svelte? This article will provide you with all of the information you need on the word svelte, including its definition, etymology, usage, example sentences, and more!

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What does the word svelte mean?

According to Collins English Dictionary and the American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, the word svelte is an adjective that means having a slender build or urbane tone, such as showing a high degree of refinement and assurance that may come from wide social experience. Many things can be svelte, from a person to a bike to a svelte look.

There are many different languages that use words that mean svelte. You may notice that sometimes different languages have words that are very close to English words or to words of other languages. This is usually because the words share a root or origin. Often, cognates, which are words that look, sound, and mean something similar across languages, are formed when words share an origin. This list of translations for the word svelte is provided by Word Sense.

  •  Scottish Gaelic: caol‎, seang‎
  •  Irish: caol‎, seangchruthach‎ (of a person)
  •  German: schlank‎
  •  Romanian: subtire‎ (neut.)
  •  Macedonian: тенок‎
  •  Greek: ισχνός‎ (masc.), ραδινός‎ (masc.), λεπτός‎ (masc.)
  •  Mandarin: 苗條‎, 苗条‎ (miáotiáo)
  •  Italian: snello‎
  •  Czech: štíhlý‎ (masc.), útlý‎ (masc.)
  •  Hindi: पतला‎ (patlā)
  •  Finnish: hoikka‎
  •  Japanese: ほっそり‎
  •  Russian: то́нкий‎, стро́йный‎
  •  Norman: mînchon‎
  •  Spanish: esbelto‎
  •  French: svelte‎
  •  Dutch: slank‎
  •  Hungarian: sovány‎
  •  Catalan: esvelt‎
  •  Arabic: نَحِيف‎, أَهِيف‎, نَحِيل‎
  •  Swedish: slank‎
  •  Latvian: slaids‎
  •  Crimean Tatar: cuka‎
  •  Portuguese: esbelto‎, magro‎
  •  Slovak: štíhly‎ (masc.), tenký‎ (masc.)
  •  Maori: tūpuhi‎, tūpuhipuhi‎, pūhihi‎, pīrahirahi‎
  •  Korean: 날씬한‎

What is the origin of svelte?

According to Etymonline, the word svelte has been used since c19 and comes from the French svelte and Italian svelto. These come from the Latin past participle of svellere meaning to pluck, pull or stretch out and the Vulgar Latin exvellere/Latin ēvellere/exvellitus. This uses the variant stem of vellere from the Latin ēvulsus and velli. The past participle of ēvellere comes from the Latin ex and the root vellere, from the Proto-Indo-European toos wel-no and uelh. These are also the source of the Hittite ualh and Greek aliskomai.

What are synonyms and antonyms of svelte?

There are a variety of equivalent words that one can use in place of the word svelte. These are called synonyms, which are words and phrases that have the same or a similar meaning as another word or phrase. Synonyms are useful to know if you are trying to expand your vocabulary as well as if you are trying to avoid repeating yourself. This list of synonyms for the word svelte is provided by Power Thesaurus.

  •  slightly built
  •  no fat
  •  snake-hipped
  •  flimsy
  •  fragile
  •  undernourished
  •  size-zero
  •  anorectic
  •  rawboned
  •  nimble
  •  ultrathin
  •  underweight
  •  polished
  •  anorexic
  •  emaciated
  •  frail
  •  rangy
  •  sinuous
  •  like a bag of bones
  •  scraggy
  •  thin
  •  weak
  •  graceful
  •  slight
  •  slimmest
  •  fatless
  •  pinched
  •  all skin and bones
  •  pliant
  •  sylphlike
  •  slim
  •  stringy
  •  trimmer
  •  slightest
  •  agile
  •  macilent
  •  twiggy
  •  trim
  •  bony
  •  gracile
  •  thinner
  •  supple
  •  wasted
  •  weedy
  •  skeletal
  •  slimmer
  •  attenuated
  •  delicate
  •  gangly
  •  narrow
  •  looking like a bag of bones
  •  slinky
  •  underfed
  •  limber
  •  as thin as a reed
  •  attenuate
  •  wiry
  •  hollow-cheeked
  •  small
  •  willowy
  •  lithe
  •  elegant
  •  smooth
  •  angular
  •  boney
  •  spindly
  •  tenuous
  •  refined
  •  light
  •  urbane
  •  skinny
  •  bare
  •  slighter
  •  gaunt
  •  spindle-shanked
  •  lithesome
  •  sinewy
  •  lissom
  •  sleek
  •  sophisticated
  •  as thin as a rake
  •  lissome
  •  cadaverous
  •  lanky
  •  scrawny
  •  cultivated
  •  slender
  •  spindling
  •  little
  •  clean-limbed
  •  skin-and-bones
  •  gangling
  •  thinnest
  •  beanpole
  •  meager
  •  lank
  •  lean
  •  flexible
  •  spare

There are also numerous words and phrases that are antonyms for the word svelte. Antonyms are words and phrases that have the opposite meaning as another word or phrase. Opposite words are helpful to know if you are trying to expand your knowledge of the English language. This list of antonyms is provided by Power Thesaurus as well.

  •  overweight
  •  heavy
  •  heavyset
  •  potbellied
  •  stocky
  •  husky
  •  nourished
  •  force-fed
  •  girthy
  •  falstaffian
  •  made fat
  •  in good condition
  •  made a meal for
  •  hippy
  •  healthy
  •  morbidly obese
  •  fattened up
  •  boarded
  •  distended
  •  fed
  •  like a beached whale
  •  burly
  •  graceless
  •  kept alive
  •  outsized
  •  overfed
  •  made fatter
  •  mesomorphic
  •  corn-fed
  •  cobby
  •  catered
  •  gave food to
  •  cooked for
  •  of ample build
  •  heavily built
  •  fubsy
  •  nuggety
  •  given food to
  •  elephantine
  •  filled
  •  gargantuan
  •  crammed
  •  prepared food for
  •  fattish
  •  catered for
  •  provided food for
  •  feed
  •  flourishing
  •  fed up
  •  fattened
  •  dished out
  •  built up
  •  thickset
  •  flabby
  •  bulky
  •  obese
  •  gross
  •  hulking
  •  dumpy
  •  full
  •  podgy
  •  brawny
  •  solid
  •  abdominous
  •  ample
  •  rotund
  •  pudgy
  •  stubby
  •  corpulent
  •  chunky
  •  roly-poly
  •  of ample proportions
  •  awkward
  •  fat
  •  thick
  •  tubby
  •  fleshy
  •  plump
  •  poddy
  •  stout
  •  broad in the beam
  •  beefy
  •  pursy
  •  pot-bellied
  •  naive
  •  beer-bellied
  •  muscular
  •  porky
  •  meaty
  •  paunchy
  •  bloated
  •  portly
  •  hefty
  •  blubbery
  •  large
  •  chubby
  •  buxom

How can the word svelte be used in a sentence?

The word svelte can be used in many different sentences in the English language. Using words in a sentence is a great way to memorize their definitions. You can also try making quizzes for yourself or testing yourself with flashcards. Try using this word of the day in a sentence today! Below are several examples of svelte.

The slim girl with straight blonde hair had a slight figure and a svelte outline. While in her studies at Princeton University, a modeling agent named Frank Norris hired her to be one of the Willow headphone models for the Willow shoot. 

The svelte hitchhiker would do anything for a typical class B camper, svelte RV, or any other long-preferred modes of transit. He usually cared about greenhouse-gas emissions, but he didn’t care if he came upon a Prius or something that guzzled a gallon of gas a minute – he just wanted to get home.

The big gaming headsets looked ridiculous next to the svelte ingenuity of the earphones. They worked just as well but didn’t need inputs from external sources to function. 

The fifth edition of the book was much more svelte than the last since they had to cut out a lot of the copyright content they were attacked for. 

Overall, the word svelte means thin or slender. This word is Latin in origin. 


  1. svelte: meaning, origin, translation | Word Sense 
  2. svelte | Origin and meaning of svelte | Online Etymology Dictionary 
  3. Svelte antonyms – 197 Opposites of Svelte | Power Thesaurus 
  4. Svelte synonyms – 332 Words and Phrases for Svelte | Power Thesaurus 
  5. Svelte definition and meaning | Collins English Dictionary