"it strikes me as the last word in quiet sophistication."

I have two questions here.

First, I do not understand the meaning of "quiet sophistication." I know that sophistication is a trait regarding being smart, articulate, sensible, and sensitive. But I do not know how this trait can be quiet. So, I do not understand the noun phrase "quiet sophistication" altogether.

Second, I do not understand what is the function of "in" in the "in quiet sophistication." As I said above, sophistication is a kind of trait. Then, I do not understand how "the last word" could be "in" the "quiet sophistication" and I do not know the meaning also. Help me

  • 1
    Have you looked up the definition of quiet? If you have, have you found any meaning that can be consistent with sophistication? Is a quiet child the same as a quiet color? In the phrase, the latest in mens' fashion, what does in mean? Oct 15, 2014 at 12:17
  • Yeh..I have. I kind of understand what "quiet sophistication" means. But I do not understand the meaning of the whole sentence, linking "the last word", "in", and "quiet sophistication"
    – Huidong Im
    Oct 15, 2014 at 12:19
  • Please don't be too harsh on me.. I am just dumb and persistent. ...
    – Huidong Im
    Oct 15, 2014 at 12:20
  • I'm not being hard on you. Policy here is that people should show their work (even if they often do not). Please show us possibilities. Also, consider the questions in the above comment. Oct 15, 2014 at 12:25
  • @Huidong: It may help you to contrast your "quiet" with the way people refer to, for example, loud clothes. Essentially, it's about whether the appearance of something would rate as either a 0 or a 10 (not at all, or extremely) when judged in terms of how ostentatious, gaudy, noticeable it is. Oct 15, 2014 at 14:25

2 Answers 2


I think the trouble you're having here is with the idiom "the last word in," which means something along the lines of "the epitome of" or "the authority on." I would understand your phrase to mean that "it" embodies subtle sophistication in the opinion of the speaker. Hope that helps!


'Quiet' in this sense means 'unobtrusive' or 'inconspicuous'. It's a sophistication that is understated...it does not call attention to itself. You may have met persons who display urbanity, knowledge, humor and an easy-going manner and do it effortlessly without any air of superiority or snobbishness. These people are rare, indeed. But they exist. It all boils down to one word--'charm'.

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