The obvious translation of "subtle" is 「微妙」, but in current usage it seems to carry a bit of a pejorative sense, even implying "dubious". Are there better translations for phrases such as "subtle hint", "subtle meaning" and "subtle colour"?

1 Answer 1


微妙 does have a subtext of "dubious" in some contexts, but apparently 微妙な意味 is an appropriate translation of "subtle meaning".

When speaking of color, taste or another attribute I would probably use an adjective like 薄い淡い, or かすかな.

For "subtle hint", Eijiro offers 何げないヒント.

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