subject matter


Definition of subject matter

: matter presented for consideration in discussion, thought, or study

Examples of subject matter in a Sentence

I found the film's subject matter to be quite disturbing. She disapproves of the artist's choice of subject matter.

Recent Examples on the Web

The subject matter is inevitably somber, but the picture is also mischievously funny. Mark Olsen,, "Indie Focus: Real lies and true emotions in ‘The Farewell’," 12 July 2019 The Post occasionally translates English stories into Spanish when the subject matter calls for it. Brian Stelter, CNN, "Washington Post expands Spanish language content with podcast and opinion columns," 26 June 2019 The album follows three generations of a fictitious family, but the subject matter is personal. Piet Levy, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "The Lumineers share dark new songs about addiction at intimate, powerful Pabst Theater show in Milwaukee," 14 June 2019 The elegant, restrained installation of these historic treasures is punctuated at intervals by contemporary works that are not only surprising, but also attest to the relevance of animal subject matter to modern-day Japanese artists. Karen Wilkin, WSJ, "‘The Life of Animals in Japanese Art’ Review: From Adorable to Fearsome," 25 June 2019 The negative reception of these uncharacteristic works led Magritte to abruptly return to his comfort zone of flat paint, careful delineation and narrative subject matter. Charles Desmarais, San Francisco Chronicle, "Getting surreal: Magritte’s late work pops at SFMOMA," 18 May 2018 The subject matter may also be surrounded by irrelevant information. The Economist, "Using AI to speed up the processing of space images," 14 June 2019 Despite the heady subject matter, the vibe on the Studio City set on this crisp afternoon in March is remarkably light. Bryn Elise Sandberg, The Hollywood Reporter, "On the Set of 'Forever' as Fred Armisen, Maya Rudolph Delve Into "Haunting" Roles," 14 June 2019 The idea is straightforward: Each artist was given the opportunity to display one to three pieces, with complete freedom to choose subject matter and media., "Tattoo artists ‘unchained’ at Mobile’s Friday art walk," 13 June 2019

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

1657, in the meaning defined above

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Statistics for subject matter

Last Updated

17 Jul 2019

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Time Traveler for subject matter

The first known use of subject matter was in 1657

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More Definitions for subject matter

subject matter


English Language Learners Definition of subject matter

: the information or ideas that are discussed or dealt with in a book, movie, etc. : what something is about

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More from Merriam-Webster on subject matter

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with subject matter

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for subject matter Encyclopedia article about subject matter

Comments on subject matter

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


to form ideas or theories about something

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