sub·​class | \ˈsəb-ˌklas \

Definition of subclass 

: a primary division of a class: such as

a : a category in biological classification ranking below a class and above an order

b : subset sense 1

Examples of subclass in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

But one subclass of the 3,000 or so satellites swarming around Earth is particularly useful: the 400 that pirouette around the planet at roughly 22,000 miles above the equator. NBC News, "Alien satellites might offer a new way to find E.T.," 19 Mar. 2018 Destiny 1 launched with only two subclasses before eventually opening a third one up via expansions. Sam Machkovech, Ars Technica, "Already, Destiny 2 understands its fate, its purpose, its desti… you know," 5 Sep. 2017 The district court granted certification to two subclasses but denied the remaining three. Fatima Hussein, Indianapolis Star, "Sheriff's Office under more scrutiny for release times," 23 June 2017 They were instead categorized as an impoverished subclass of the Han majority, and the government began to move them onshore and put their children in schools. Chris Buckley And Adam Wu, New York Times, "In China, an Ancient People Watch Their Floating Life Dissolve," 23 Jan. 2017 But, with its ever-expanding system of subclasses and legroom fees, is there any better symbol of our self-sorting tendencies? Lizzie Widdicombe, The New Yorker, "J.F.K.’s New Animal Terminal," 23 Jan. 2017 A certain sub-sub-subclass of supernova explosions , known as Type 1a, has two useful characteristics. Paul Sutter Astrophysicist, Fox News, "Does dark energy exist?," 30 June 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'subclass.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of subclass

1720, in the meaning defined above

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Time Traveler for subclass

The first known use of subclass was in 1720

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More Definitions for subclass


sub·​class | \ˈsəb-ˌklas \

Medical Definition of subclass 

: a category in biological classification ranking below a class and above an order

More from Merriam-Webster on subclass

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with subclass

Comments on subclass

What made you want to look up subclass? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to move with a clumsy heavy tread

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