sub·​due | \ səb-ˈdü How to pronounce subdue (audio) , -ˈdyü\
subdued; subduing

Definition of subdue

transitive verb

1 : to conquer and bring into subjection : vanquish
2 : to bring under control especially by an exertion of the will : curb subdued my foolish fears
3 : to bring (land) under cultivation
4 : to reduce the intensity or degree of : tone down

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Other Words from subdue

subduer noun

Choose the Right Synonym for subdue

conquer, vanquish, defeat, subdue, reduce, overcome, overthrow mean to get the better of by force or strategy. conquer implies gaining mastery of. Caesar conquered Gaul vanquish implies a complete overpowering. vanquished the enemy and ended the war defeat does not imply the finality or completeness of vanquish which it otherwise equals. the Confederates defeated the Union forces at Manassas subdue implies a defeating and suppression. subdued the native tribes after years of fighting reduce implies a forcing to capitulate or surrender. the city was reduced after a month-long siege overcome suggests getting the better of with difficulty or after hard struggle. overcame a host of bureaucratic roadblocks overthrow stresses the bringing down or destruction of existing power. violently overthrew the old regime

Examples of subdue in a Sentence

The troops were finally able to subdue the rebel forces after many days of fighting. He was injured while trying to subdue a violent drunk. She struggled to subdue her fears.
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Recent Examples on the Web

The student resisted when officers tried to take him into custody, so officers used a Taser to subdue and handcuff him, police said. Evan Macdonald,, "Student stabbed teacher at Parma Heights day treatment center, police say," 5 Sep. 2019 The standoff continued until shortly before 2:30 p.m., when officers made entry to the home, subdued the suspect with pepper-spray projectiles and took him into custody. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Hourslong SDPD standoff in Bay Ho area ends with wanted man in custody," 1 Aug. 2019 Jay Bouwmeester sent a shot that O’Reilly deftly re-directed past Rask to subdue the crowd and give the Blues a 1-0 lead at 16:47 of the first period. Globe Staff,, "Once again, an imperfect finish for Tuukka Rask," 13 June 2019 Kevin Gerber says officers subdued and removed one deer and two others that ended up in a bathroom were tranquilized and released. USA TODAY, "Renters revolt, troublesome bras, deer in the john: News from around our 50 states," 5 June 2019 Police used a stun gun to subdue Guenther and take him into custody, the report said. Amy Lavalley,, "Police: Man punches K-9 officer, faces charges," 23 Apr. 2018 The video of her being subdued by police officers on the floor of the restaurant went viral and drew national attention from civil rights advocates. Lily Jackson |, al, "Waffle House trial: Jury sworn in, statements begin Wednesday," 20 Aug. 2019 The slowdown in industrial production adds to broader evidence that factory activity in China has been subdued, Evans-Pritchard added. Laura He, CNN, "China is still hurting from the trade war and the pressure is mounting," 14 Aug. 2019 Agility was better than expected, road noise was subdued and a long-ish road trip was accomplished with ease. Lyndon Conrad Bell, Houston Chronicle, "2019 GMC Canyon Denali is quiet, smooth, comfortable, even at highway speeds," 9 Aug. 2019

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

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for subdue

Middle English sodewen, subduen, from Anglo-French soduire, subdure to lead astray, overcome, arrest (influenced in form and meaning by Latin subdere to subject), from Latin subducere to withdraw, remove stealthily

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Statistics for subdue

Last Updated

17 Oct 2019

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Time Traveler for subdue

The first known use of subdue was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for subdue



English Language Learners Definition of subdue

: to get control of (a violent or dangerous person or group) by using force, punishment, etc.
: to get control of (something, such as a strong emotion)


sub·​due | \ səb-ˈdü How to pronounce subdue (audio) , -ˈdyü\
subdued; subduing

Kids Definition of subdue

1 : to bring under control He subdued his fears. Police subdued the angry man.
2 : to overcome in battle Troops subdued the enemy.

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More from Merriam-Webster on subdue

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with subdue

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for subdue

Spanish Central: Translation of subdue

Nglish: Translation of subdue for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of subdue for Arabic Speakers

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