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
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 Photographically, there are almost too many choices of subject! National Geographic, "Italy and Greece Expedition: Empires of the Mediterranean," 10 Sep. 2019 Many of the clients are nonnative speakers of English whose knowledge of the subject might be obscured by their poor writing. New York Times, "Is It O.K. if College Students Hire Me to Revise Their Papers?," 10 Sep. 2019 Through a certain lens, some viewers will undoubtedly see what Watiti is doing here as a kind of smug, misguided Wes Anderson-ization of a subject that has no statute of limitations for satire. Leah Greenblatt, EW.com, "Taika Waititi pulls off the near-impossible in Hitler fantasia Jojo Rabbit," 9 Sep. 2019 Even going so far as to invite the star of the movie, Gerard Butler, to campus, with the Spartan nickname correlating with the subject of the film. Chase Michaelson, Detroit Free Press, "Michigan State's Darrell Stewart motivated by Dantonio's challenge, and a movie," 9 Sep. 2019 Danbold and Unzueta employed a variety of methods and a large set of subjects. Evelyn Iritani, Quartz at Work, "White men and minority groups have different definitions of “sufficient” diversity," 5 Sep. 2019 His work is revered globally for capturing the essence of a subject and promoting healthy ideals of beauty, eschewing photoshopping, and preferring natural beauty with minimal makeup. Erica Gonzales, Harper's BAZAAR, "Meghan Markle and Prince Harry Honor Photographer Peter Lindbergh on Instagram," 4 Sep. 2019 At the mention of the subject, Spencer and the audience started laughing. Leah Rocketto, Woman's Day, "'Dance Moms' Star Brady Farrar Slams 'GMA's Lara Spencer For Prince George Comments," 23 Aug. 2019 By having a pool of ready-to-go subjects to tap, these trials can begin much more quickly, Aisen said. San Diego Union-Tribune, "USC and UC San Diego try to move on after painful fight over Alzheimer’s institute," 18 Aug. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Sitcoms have also, historically, been subject to derision for their paint-by-numbers plotting, hokey stage sets, and canned laughter. Adam Wilson, Harper's magazine, "Good Bad Bad Good," 16 Sep. 2019 While cities would still be banned from expanding tighter rent limits on newer properties, millions of new housing units would be subject to a legal limit on rent increases. Matt Levin, The Mercury News, "Big rent hikes are about to be illegal in California. Here’s what you should know," 15 Sep. 2019 The sheriff is subject to the direction of the mayor’s office and works under a civilian director of public safety. Elise Schmelzer, The Denver Post, "“Wasn’t suited to be sheriff”: Patrick Firman’s resignation follows years of lacking respect, ongoing jail trouble," 13 Sep. 2019 Candidates who interrupt will be subject to having their time reduced later on. NBC News, "Full transcript: Democratic debate in Houston," 13 Sep. 2019 The rule defined which waterways are subject to federal regulation. BostonGlobe.com, "Trump administration to drop Obama-era water protection rule - The Boston Globe," 13 Sep. 2019 For example, a river flowing into California from other parts of the country might not have been subject to protections as stringent as California and could carry in sediment or pollution. Kurtis Alexander, SFChronicle.com, "California protects itself from Trump’s rollback of Clean Water Act," 12 Sep. 2019 John Deere, an American tractor-maker, has spent four years facing down a rebellion from farmers angry at being subject to similar restrictions. The Economist, "The Internet of Things will bring the internet’s business model into the rest of the world," 12 Sep. 2019 Some legal experts have made the case that email can be subject to copyright protection. Kate Cox, Ars Technica, "Forwarding email is a crime, Jerry Falwell Jr. says after leaks to media," 12 Sep. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Competent, established, and experienced agents have no incentive to subject themselves to this legislation, and its overly burdensome procedures and oversight. Stephen Means, cleveland.com, "Ohio State football considered playoff team in ESPN’s recent bowl projections: Buckeye Breakfast," 17 Sep. 2019 Liberals often maintain that true love of country means calling the nation to its best self and thus subjecting it to criticism. Lionel Shriver, Harper's magazine, "Patrios," 16 Sep. 2019 Why not fully explain the problem instead of freezing your account and then subjecting you to a seemingly endless cycle of ID verification requests? Christopher Elliott, King Features Syndicate, The Mercury News, "Problem Solved: Venmo payment could not be completed, now what?," 15 Sep. 2019 Why not fully explain the problem instead of freezing your account and then subjecting you to a seemingly endless cycle of ID verification requests? Christopher Elliott, courant.com, "Problem Solved: Rent money sent via Venmo now in limbo," 15 Sep. 2019 The California Vehicle Code subjects them to the same road rules as two-ton SUVs, but Berkeley has some discretion in how to enforce it, Arreguín said. Rachel Swan, SFChronicle.com, "Berkeley cyclists cry foul over $238 citations for rolling through stop signs," 11 Sep. 2019 His experience is shared by many other Muslims living in Michigan and across the U.S. who say that a FBI terrorism watch list has subjected them to years of profiling, harassment, missed flights, and abuse. Niraj Warikoo, Detroit Free Press, "Michigan Muslims hope judge's ruling against terror watch list ends harassment by feds," 9 Sep. 2019 After all, this is the same governor who didn’t hesitate to use the special-session process to target transgender individuals and subject them to the threat of verbal and physical abuse, all for the cause of solving a non-existent problem. Gilbert Garcia, ExpressNews.com, "Why Texas needs a special session on guns," 6 Sep. 2019 Pakistan has offered to take action against anti-India jihadi groups and subject itself to verification by American and British Intelligence. Johann Chacko, Quartz India, "Like Pakistan, India may soon face the catastrophic costs of steroid-driven nationalism," 3 Sep. 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.

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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

24 Oct 2019

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
How to pronounce subject (audio)

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

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for subject

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with 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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not being in agreement or harmony

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