Svelte means slender. It's used to describe people, not things, and it implies a certain elegance. You might say that a middle-aged woman who had kept a svelte figure could still pass for a sixteen-year-old girl.

Svelte came to English from the French, back in the 19th century when the French had the last word on fashion, which probably accounts for its associations with elegance. It has nothing to do with the word sweltering, which means hot enough to make you sweat.

Definitions of svelte

adj being of delicate or slender build

slender, slight, slim
lean, thin
lacking excess flesh

adj moving and bending with ease

lissom, lissome, lithe, lithesome, slender, supple, sylphlike
characterized by beauty of movement, style, form, or execution

adj showing a high degree of refinement and the assurance that comes from wide social experience

polished, refined, urbane
having or appealing to those having worldly knowledge and refinement and savoir-faire

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