subject

noun
sub·​ject | \ ˈsəb-jikt How to pronounce subject (audio) , -(ˌ)jekt\

Definition of subject

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1 : one that is placed under authority or control: such as
a : vassal
b(1) : one subject to a monarch and governed by the monarch's law
(2) : one who lives in the territory of, enjoys the protection of, and owes allegiance to a sovereign power or state
2a : that of which a quality, attribute, or relation may be affirmed or in which it may inhere
b : substratum especially : material or essential substance
c : the mind, ego, or agent of whatever sort that sustains or assumes the form of thought or consciousness
3a : a department of knowledge or learning
b : motive, cause
c(1) : one that is acted on the helpless subject of their cruelty
(2) : an individual whose reactions or responses are studied
(3) : a dead body for anatomical study and dissection
(4) : a person who has engaged in activity that a federal prosecutor has identified as being within the scope of a federal grand jury investigation Most white-collar criminal defendants started out as subjects of a grand jury investigation," said Bruce Green, a former federal prosecutor and a law professor at Fordham.— Adam Serwer
d(1) : something concerning which something is said or done the subject of the essay
(2) : something represented or indicated in a work of art
e(1) : the term of a logical proposition that denotes the entity of which something is affirmed or denied also : the entity denoted
(2) : a word or word group denoting that of which something is predicated
f : the principal melodic phrase on which a musical composition or movement is based

subject

adjective

Definition of subject (Entry 2 of 3)

1 : owing obedience or allegiance to the power or dominion of another
2a : suffering a particular liability or exposure subject to temptation
b : having a tendency or inclination : prone subject to colds
3 : contingent on or under the influence of some later action the plan is subject to discussion

subject

verb
sub·​ject | \ səb-ˈjekt How to pronounce subject (audio) , ˈsəb-ˌjekt\
subjected; subjecting; subjects

Definition of subject (Entry 3 of 3)

transitive verb

1a : to bring under control or dominion : subjugate
b : to make (someone, such as oneself) amenable to the discipline and control of a superior
2 : to make liable : predispose
3 : to cause or force to undergo or endure (something unpleasant, inconvenient, or trying) was subjected to constant verbal abuse

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from subject

Noun

subjectless \ ˈsəb-​jikt-​ləs How to pronounce subjectless (audio) , -​(ˌ)jekt-​ \ adjective

Verb

subjection \ səb-​ˈjek-​shən How to pronounce subjection (audio) \ noun

Choose the Right Synonym for subject

Noun

citizen, subject, national mean a person owing allegiance to and entitled to the protection of a sovereign state. citizen is preferred for one owing allegiance to a state in which sovereign power is retained by the people and sharing in the political rights of those people. the rights of a free citizen subject implies allegiance to a personal sovereign such as a monarch. the king's subjects national designates one who may claim the protection of a state and applies especially to one living or traveling outside that state. American nationals working in the Middle East

Adjective

liable, open, exposed, subject, prone, susceptible, sensitive mean being by nature or through circumstances likely to experience something adverse. liable implies a possibility or probability of incurring something because of position, nature, or particular situation. liable to get lost open stresses a lack of barriers preventing incurrence. a claim open to question exposed suggests lack of protection or powers of resistance against something actually present or threatening. exposed to infection subject implies an openness for any reason to something that must be suffered or undergone. all reports are subject to review prone stresses natural tendency or propensity to incur something. prone to delay susceptible implies conditions existing in one's nature or individual constitution that make incurrence probable. very susceptible to flattery sensitive implies a readiness to respond to or be influenced by forces or stimuli. unduly sensitive to criticism

Examples of subject in a Sentence

Noun

The new museum is the subject of an article in today's paper. Death is a difficult subject that few people like to talk about. I need to break the news to her, but I'm not sure how to bring up the subject. If you're interested in linguistics, I know an excellent book on the subject. an excellent book on the subject of linguistics These meetings would be much shorter if we could keep him from getting off the subject. The morality of capital punishment is a frequent subject of debate. Chemistry was my favorite subject in high school. The classes cover a variety of subject areas, including mathematics and English.

Verb

Attila the Hun subjected most of Europe to his barbaric pillage.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The subject then drove onto the property and then left. Houston Chronicle, "Memorial Villages Police Department weekly report," 1 July 2019 The light from Riis’s flash powder revealed the nooks and crannies of poverty, the chiaroscuro of dirt and bedraggled cloth on skin illuminated by a burst of fire from the gizmo that shocked the subjects being photographed. Marlo Safi, National Review, "A Raw Look at the New ‘Other Half’," 29 June 2019 Other threads knit the writer’s disparate subjects into a coherent oeuvre. The Economist, "Modern British television has found its Dickens," 29 June 2019 The politics of caregiving, and the impossibly complex threads of trust and resentment between people who have children and the people who take care of those children, feel like subjects made for writers to explore. The Atlantic, "What We’re Reading This Summer," 28 June 2019 These are the subjects the 2020 Democratic candidates neglected to address during the second debate. Renae Reints, Fortune, "What the 2020 Democratic Candidates Didn’t Say During the Second Debate," 28 June 2019 The subject was transported to a local hospital with a non-life-threatening injury. Robyn Merrett, PEOPLE.com, "Guns N' Roses Drummer Steven Adler Hospitalized After Possible Suicide Attempt," 28 June 2019 The male subject was found on the sidewalk and succumbed to his injuries. Cincinnati.com, "Police find man shot dead on Hamilton sidewalk," 28 June 2019 But no line of debate drew more heat and emotion than when the subject turned to race relations. latimes.com, "Democratic debate: Joe Biden pushed on the defensive by Kamala Harris and others," 27 June 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

Only Roster is subject to change Head Coach: Aaron Miles (Kansas) Assistant Coaches: Michael Lee Kris Weems James Laughlin Khalid Robinson Luke Loucks Nick Kerr Jacob Rubin Connor Letourneau is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer. Connor Letourneau, SFChronicle.com, "Damian Jones, Jacob Evans highlight Warriors’ Summer League roster," 26 June 2019 Outdoor activities are subject to change depending on the weather. Anchorage Daily News, "Here’s what’s going on for summer solstice in Anchorage and beyond," 20 June 2019 Editor’s note: All schedules are subject to change, and some of the schedules were not available at press time, so for the most up-to-date information, please visit the respective websites. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Free outdoor concerts kick-off summer season throughout San Diego County," 20 June 2019 Note: Schedules are subject to change because of weather and other factors. Post-tribune Staff, Post-Tribune, "Post-Tribune Local Scoreboard for Sunday, June 16, 2019," 16 June 2019 The tuitions are based on current tariffs, currency values, airfares and third-party charges as of catalog publication date and are subject to change due to unforeseen circumstances. National Geographic, "Student Expeditions Terms & Conditions," 12 June 2019 The numbers remain subject to change, and Wiebold says it’s too early to say the downturn is truly over. USA TODAY, "High Line milestones, Iowa’s big stink, Muscle Beach makeover: News from around our 50 states," 11 June 2019 Note: Schedules are subject to change because of weather and other factors. Daily Southtown Staff, Daily Southtown, "Daily Southtown Local Scoreboard for Sunday, June 9, 2019," 8 June 2019 While the figures are subject to change, NASA initially plans to charge $11,250 per commercial crew member per day for life support and bathroom privileges and another $22,500 per day for crew supplies, including air and water. William Harwood, CBS News, "NASA opens space station to private-sector astronauts," 7 June 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

As a result, Floro was subjected to constant harassment and threats from other inmates, according to his lawyer. oregonlive.com, "Federal jury finds Oregon corrections officer put inmate in harm’s way, awards $350,000 in damages," 2 July 2019 The victims live in two wards at the public hospital that primarily serve dementia patients and were subjected to alleged physical and verbal abuse between 2016 and January 2019, according to the health department. Dominic Fracassa, SFChronicle.com, "Patient abuse scandal rocks San Francisco’s Laguna Honda hospital," 28 June 2019 Today they are marginalised, subjected to ever-tightening pressure by the state to respect borders and come ashore. The Economist, "The South Asian monsoon, past, present and future," 27 June 2019 Robocalls have become a major concern for policymakers as Americans have increasingly been subjected to unwelcome cellphone interruptions and, in the worst cases, fraud. Brian Fung, CNN, "US government announces nationwide crackdown on robocallers," 25 June 2019 That includes sporting a kilt and throwing axes in Scotland and being subjected to a labor simulator, a device that demonstrates what women go through while giving birth. Johnny Diaz, sun-sentinel.com, "South Florida’s Tyler Cameron is winning hearts on ABC’s ‘The Bachelorette’," 25 June 2019 In the study, physician Hans Seyle — later called the father of stress — subjected rats to cold, drugs, excessive exercise and other assaults. Bridget Alex, Discover Magazine, "What Science Says About Why You're Stressed and How to Cope," 21 June 2019 O’Neill tracked him down at a family member’s house, offered a nickel bag of pot as a peace offering, and was subjected to a tirade the second Tate’s name was invoked. Seija Rankin, EW.com, "Everything you need to know about the explosive new Manson murders exposé Chaos," 16 June 2019 There is one noteworthy omission: federal asset forfeiture petitions, which are handled through the U.S. Attorney’s office and subjected to a separate set of civil laws. Annie Sciacca, The Mercury News, "From 2015 to ’18, Contra Costa cops seized $1.1 million from people not charged with a crime," 14 June 2019

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

Noun

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Adjective

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Verb

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for subject

Noun

Middle English suget, subget, from Anglo-French, from Latin subjectus one under authority & subjectum subject of a proposition, from masculine & neuter respectively of subjectus, past participle of subicere to subject, literally, to throw under, from sub- + jacere to throw — more at jet

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about subject

Statistics for subject

Last Updated

4 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for subject

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for subject

subject

noun

English Language Learners Definition of subject

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: the person or thing that is being discussed or described
: an area of knowledge that is studied in school
: a person or thing that is being dealt with in a particular way

subject

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of subject (Entry 2 of 2)

: under the control of a ruler

subject

noun
sub·​ject | \ ˈsəb-jikt How to pronounce subject (audio) \

Kids Definition of subject

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1 : the person or thing discussed : topic She's the subject of rumors. Let's change the subject.
2 : an area of knowledge that is studied in school Geography is my favorite subject.
3 : a person who owes loyalty to a monarch or state
4 : a person under the authority or control of another
5 : the word or group of words about which the predicate makes a statement
6 : a person or animal that is studied or experimented on

subject

adjective

Kids Definition of subject (Entry 2 of 3)

1 : owing obedience or loyalty to another The people were subject to their king.
2 : possible or likely to be affected by The schedule is subject to change. The area is subject to flooding.
3 : depending on I'll send the samples subject to your approval.

subject

verb
sub·​ject | \ səb-ˈjekt How to pronounce subject (audio) \
subjected; subjecting

Kids Definition of subject (Entry 3 of 3)

1 : to bring under control or rule The Romans subjected much of Europe.
2 : to cause to put up with My parents are unwilling to subject us to embarrassment.

subject

noun
sub·​ject | \ ˈsəb-jikt How to pronounce subject (audio) \

Medical Definition of subject

1 : an individual whose reactions or responses are studied
2 : a dead body for anatomical study and dissection

Keep scrolling for more

subject

noun
sub·​ject | \ ˈsəb-ˌjekt How to pronounce subject (audio) \

Legal Definition of subject

: the person upon whose life a life insurance policy is written and upon whose death the policy is payable : insured — compare beneficiary sense b, policyholder

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on subject

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with subject

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for subject

Spanish Central: Translation of subject

Nglish: Translation of subject for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of subject for Arabic Speakers

Comments on subject

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

WORD OF THE DAY

food or victuals

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Farm Idioms Quiz

  • cow coming home
  • What does 'poke' refer to in the expression 'pig in a poke'?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Word Winder's CrossWinder

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

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

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