sub·field | \ˈsəb-ˌfēld \

Definition of subfield 

1 : a subset of a mathematical field that is itself a field

2 : a subdivision of a field (as of study)

Examples of subfield in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Animal history has in fact grown into a major subfield, with articles published in prestigious journals, classes taught at dozens of top universities, and a new Animal History Museum in development outside Los Angeles. Amy Crawford,, "Why is history always about humans?," 13 July 2018 But in narrow subfields such as applied math or statistics, the numbers are meager compared with demand. Lauren Weber, WSJ, "Now Fighting for Top Tech Talent: Makers of Turbines, Tools and Toyotas," 31 May 2018 People usually work in a small subfield for their whole career, so the person supervising their studies will likely show up at the same conferences and in the same collaborations—forever. Sarah Scoles, Outside Online, "The Harassment Problem in Scientific Dream Jobs," 21 May 2018 The investigative subfield is far from perfect, however. Discover Magazine, "20 Things You Didn't Know About ... Sand," 18 May 2018 Four other checkpoint inhibitors have since been approved, and untold dollars and energy have flooded immuno-oncology (IO) subfields, including cancer vaccines, immunomodulators and chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cell therapies. Scientific American, "After the Gold Rush," 3 May 2018 By the mid-1900s, science had fractured into subfields, each with its own requirements for expertise. Meghan Bartels, Newsweek, "What UFO 'Encounters' Can Tell Us About Fake News and Climate Change Denial," 1 Mar. 2018 But a recent spurt of progress in machine learning, a subfield of artificial intelligence (AI), has enabled computers to tackle many problems which were previously beyond them. The Economist, "Humans may not always grasp why AIs act. Don’t panic," 15 Feb. 2018 There’s simply too much knowledge for any single person to absorb, even in a single subfield of research, and even if the work were always written very clearly. Daniel Engber, Slate Magazine, "Humans Run Experiments, a Robot Writes the Paper," 12 Dec. 2017

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

See More

First Known Use of subfield

1894, in the meaning defined at sense 2

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about subfield

Dictionary Entries near subfield








Statistics for subfield

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for subfield

The first known use of subfield was in 1894

See more words from the same year

More from Merriam-Webster on subfield

See words that rhyme with subfield

Britannica English: Translation of subfield for Arabic Speakers

Comments on subfield

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


a generally accepted meaning of a word

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Great Scrabble Words—A Quiz

  • scrabble-tiles-that-read-scrabble-quiz
  • Which of the following Q-without-U words means the number five in cards or dice?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!