sub·​cul·​ture | \ ˈsəb-ˌkəl-chər How to pronounce subculture (audio) \

Definition of subculture

1a : a culture (as of bacteria) derived from another culture
b : an act or instance of producing a subculture
2 : an ethnic, regional, economic, or social group exhibiting characteristic patterns of behavior sufficient to distinguish it from others within an embracing culture or society a criminal subculture

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Other Words from subculture

subcultural \ ˌsəb-​ˈkəlch-​rəl How to pronounce subcultural (audio) , -​ˈkəl-​chə-​ \ adjective
subculturally adverb
subculture transitive verb

Examples of subculture in a Sentence

a subculture of local painters a subculture of poverty and crime
Recent Examples on the Web The thing that has always excited me: The constant change, bew genres and sounds, evolving subcultures, independent artists… 13. Katie Bain, Billboard, "20 Questions With Maya Jane Coles: The Producer on Her Career Highlights, Love of Hip-Hop & Current Hair Color," 17 Jan. 2020 Or every other representation of any subculture, belief, and lifestyle? Tim Fitzsimons, NBC News, "Trump campaign's latest Fox News hire has history of anti-gay remarks," 13 Jan. 2020 Vibrant subcultures, such as spinning in South Africa, low-riding in California and dune racing in Dubai, have formed around vehicles, defining the clothes, behaviours, friendships and aspirations of devotees. K.s-c., The Economist, "The modern world was built in the car’s image," 25 Nov. 2019 Regardless of the actual gender breakdown in these two arenas, women are perpetually believed to be a subculture within them the way men are believed to be in lifestyle, despite the number of male makeup artists and stylists who dominate the sphere. Soraya Roberts, Longreads, "Under the Influence: Watch(wo)men," 21 Nov. 2019 In the vein of classic Ritchie films like Snatch, The Gentlemen features British gangsters and a meeting of subcultures from across the pond — and EW has your exclusive first look at the project. Christian Holub,, "Matthew McConaughey, Charlie Hunnam, more scheme in first look at Guy Ritchie's The Gentlemen," 1 Oct. 2019 Now a subculture, dumpster diving is documented on YouTube and discussed in online communities on Facebook and Reddit, where people go to exchange tips and find dumpster-diving partners. Los Angeles Times, "Everyone’s trash is this woman’s treasure," 20 Sep. 2019 With the passing of those 19 titles, a subculture disappears. John Pearley Huffman, Car and Driver, "What We Lose When We Lose What Car Craft Was," 13 Jan. 2020 Those conversations also show Lion was involved in the Furry community, a subculture that idolizes anthropomorphic animals, essentially animals depicted with human characteristics. Tyler Eagle, Detroit Free Press, "Monroe police shooting suspect Simba Lion in critical condition," 21 Nov. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'subculture.' 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 subculture

1885, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

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Time Traveler for subculture

Time Traveler

The first known use of subculture was in 1885

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Statistics for subculture

Last Updated

10 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Subculture.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 17 Feb. 2020.

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More Definitions for subculture


How to pronounce subculture (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of subculture

: a group that has beliefs and behaviors that are different from the main groups within a culture or society


sub·​cul·​ture | \ ˈsəb-ˌkəl-chər How to pronounce subculture (audio) \

Medical Definition of subculture

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a culture (as of bacteria) derived from another culture
2 : an act or instance of producing a subculture

Other Words from subculture

subcultural \ -​ˈkəlch-​(ə-​)rəl How to pronounce subcultural (audio) \ adjective
subculturally \ -​ē How to pronounce subculturally (audio) \ adverb


transitive verb
subcultured; subculturing

Medical Definition of subculture (Entry 2 of 2)

: to culture (as bacteria) anew on a fresh medium by inoculation from an older culture

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