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

Following the tradition of the first one, Mario Maker 2's subculture is a world of trolling, fiendishly difficult puzzles, and challenge ideas that would make Shigeru Miyamoto absolutely flip. Julie Muncy, WIRED, "The Super Mario Maker 2 Community Is a Haven of Player Creativity," 10 July 2019 The documentary about the Kiki dance subculture in New York City will be shown Aug. 2 at 2 p.m. and Aug. 3, in a free screening for teens, at 11 a.m. Admission to the films is $10, $9 seniors and students, $7 members, free for Film Stars. Susan Dunne,, "Six LGBT-film series at Wadsworth Atheneum," 24 June 2019 Here’s an interesting subculture: female gun influencers on Instagram. Kristen Bellstrom, Fortune, "To Diversity the Financial Industry, Break the Wheel: Broadsheet," 21 June 2019 Especially in the 1990s, when subculture was brand, Hootie’s evident (but misleading) plainness was a team no one wanted to bat for. Jon Caramanica, New York Times, "Hootie & the Blowfish, Great American Rock Band (Yes, Really)," 6 June 2019 Coordinated ink has long been part of a fraternity subculture in the Sheriff’s Department, where exclusive groups — with monikers like the Jump Out Boys, Grim Reapers, and Regulators — have been accused of glorifying an aggressive style of policing. Maya Lau,, "L.A. County to pay $7-million settlement in fatal shooting involving tattooed deputy group," 18 June 2019 My drive towards clothes and fashion came more through things like music, or art, or subcultures, but wasn’t ever really driven by the fashion industry. Vogue, "In Helsinki, an International Jury Singles Out the Work of MA Student Ines Kalliala," 31 May 2019 Based in Southern California, Baffa has focused his work on surfing’s global subculture. Edgar Thompson,, "New documentary, ‘Loopers,’ celebrates caddies place in golf history," 12 June 2019 The series, now in its eleventh season and on VH1, took what had been a subculture and exploded it, minting drag-queen stars, mainstreaming idioms, remaking Ru into a kind of self-help guru—and winning nine Emmys along the way. Abby Aguirre, Vogue, "How the World Fell Head Over Heels for RuPaul," 15 Apr. 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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Statistics for subculture

Last Updated

14 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for subculture

The first known use of subculture was in 1885

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More Definitions for subculture



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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