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

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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.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The 2011–2016 Ford Fiesta and the 2012–2016 Focus have a dual-clutch automatic transmission that is the subject of a class-action lawsuit and many individual lawsuits. Clifford Atiyeh, Car and Driver, "What You Need to Know about Ford's PowerShift Transmission Problems," 13 May 2019 The deals, expected to close in the second half of the year, would bring Takeda $3.8 billion in cash up front and up to $1.9 billion in additional payments from Novartis subject to certain milestones being met, the companies said Wednesday. ... Maria Armental, WSJ, "Takeda Selling Assets to Novartis, J&J to Pay Down Debt," 8 May 2019 As 19th-century photography was the subject of her undergraduate thesis, Kate's decisions were backed up by expertise. Chloe Foussianes, Town & Country, "Kate Middleton Rewears a Stunning Alexander McQueen Gown to the National Portrait Gallery Gala," 12 Mar. 2019 Two years later, in November of 2010, another report is filed; this time the subject is Abigail, who is in the first grade. Glamour, "Broken Harts, Episode 5: 'Owies'," 8 Jan. 2019 On the subject of Google Assistant, Sonos told me that the goal is still bringing it to the Sonos One and Sonos Beam by the end of the year. Chris Welch, The Verge, "Sonos One coming in five limited edition colors for $229 on November 5th," 30 Oct. 2018 On the subject of judge Kavanaugh, the thought of Hirono and Trump, Jr. being moral anchors is a clear sign that the Republic is in trouble. Chris Stirewalt, Fox News, "Trump attacks Kavanaugh accuser," 25 Sep. 2018 Breastfeeding, sadly, can still be a contentious subject—one which people, both mothers and those who are not mothers, have a lot of opinions about. Abby Gardner, Glamour, "Actress Nikki Reed Gets Real About Breastfeeding Her 20-Month-Old Daughter," 10 Apr. 2019 The two have published a book on the subject, Titanic or Olympic: Which Ship Sank? David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "The Wild Conspiracy That the Titanic Never Sank," 27 Feb. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

The news story underscored how standardized test scores—once hailed as a neutral measure of a student's aptitude—are subject to bias. Chloe Foussianes, Town & Country, "SAT to Add "Adversity Score," in Hopes of Narrowing the Achievement Gap," 17 May 2019 All entities that conduct business in or with the U.S. or U.S. individuals, including citizens and permanent residents, or those that use goods or services from the U.S., are subject to the regulations, according to OFAC. Mengqi Sun, WSJ, "Treasury Sets Expectations for Sanctions Compliance Programs," 2 May 2019 No road connects the two towns, and the terrain is subject to frequent flash floods and landslides. Amrit Dhillon, The Seattle Times, "Poll workers journey to reach India’s most remote voters," 14 Apr. 2019 Every year, the space gets a 15-foot-tall tree made of approximately 150 real poinsettia plants, alongside other smaller trees—although the details are always subject to change. Robert Khederian, Town & Country, "How Newport's Gilded Age Mansions Are Decorated for Christmas," 13 Dec. 2018 The government exists under God’s authority and is subject to God’s moral law and is not entitled to our unquestioned fealty. Ed Stetzer, Vox, "Fellow evangelicals: stop falling for Trump’s anti-immigrant rhetoric," 6 Nov. 2018 Each of the plane’s components is subject to all sorts of abuse: for example, to test how well a jet could withstand everything from a hail storm to a bird strike, engines are pelted with a barrage of ice chunks and dead chickens. Barbara Peterson, Condé Nast Traveler, "How Often Do New Airplanes Have Problems?," 2 Nov. 2018 Collecting fingerprints is generally allowed, but DNA evidence is subject to additional scrutiny. Ian Bogost, The Atlantic, "What the Capital Gazette Shooting Reveals About Face Recognition," 29 June 2018 Lacking modern methods for determining who was subject to the income tax, publicizing such information was considered a useful... Jay Starkman, WSJ, "Why Should Congress See Trump’s Tax Returns?," 21 Apr. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

And students may be subjected to more unannounced, random searches with portable metal detectors – wands – beginning with the upcoming school year. Sue Kiesewetter, Cincinnati.com, "Hamilton Schools staff can be armed," 29 June 2018 And yet, few economic policies have been subjected to such obsessive criticism, in particular by mainstream (which is to say, conservative) economists, as the minimum wage. James K. Galbraith, Fortune, "The Minimum Wage Just Turned 80. Economists Don’t Give It Enough Credit," 25 June 2018 After the article was published, P.R. agencies in London were subjected to heavy scrutiny, and legislators in Parliament started a campaign to create a registry of lobbyists, similar to one that exists in the United States. Ed Caesar, The New Yorker, "The Reputation-Laundering Firm That Ruined Its Own Reputation," 25 May 2018 The boy would be subjected to a five-month ordeal that famously included the severing of his right ear, which his kidnappers packaged and mailed to an Italian newspaper. Mark Rozzo, Vanities, "The Virtually Unknown Saga of Gisela Getty and Jutta Winkelmann, It Girls on a Bumpy Ride," 30 Apr. 2018 There was a witness in the room who has never been subjected to a proper investigative effort of any kind. Fox News, "Levin: Democrats and the judicial confirmation process," 24 Sep. 2018 When it was hit, the Indianapolis wasn’t zigzagging, a decision that was later subjected to fervent debate. Walter R. Borneman, WSJ, "‘Indianapolis’ Review: Supreme Sacrifice," 30 Aug. 2018 The bullying she was subjected too, however, only strengthened her resolve to wearing the hijab. Vogue, "How Rawdah Mohamed Is Challenging Modest Style Conventions and Fashion’s Inclusivity Problem," 21 Mar. 2019 His government subjects journalists and social media users to punishing fines for defamation. Krishan Francis, Fox News, "Maldives prepares for polls seen as test for young democracy," 21 Sep. 2018

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.

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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

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Statistics for subject

Last Updated

23 May 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for subject

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

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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

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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

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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

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