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

But there is also a diversity of approaches to the subject. Nat Ives, WSJ, "Verizon Expands Diversity-and-Inclusion Push With New Focus on Retention," 28 Mar. 2019 Only women and femme creatives participated in the production of the shoot, from photographers to subjects to creative directors. Jessica Andrews, Teen Vogue, "All Womxn Project Launches New Campaign for International Women’s Day," 8 Mar. 2019 Trump’s tweet came shortly after White House spokesman Hogan Gidley was asked about the subject during a live interview on Fox News. John Wagner, The Seattle Times, "Trump says he directed Sarah Sanders ‘not to bother’ with White House news briefings," 22 Jan. 2019 Since the show aired on OWN, people have taken to social media to praise the couple for their honesty and for bringing attention to this incredibly personal subject. Krystin Arneson, Glamour, "Gabrielle Union and Dwyane Wade Opened Up to Oprah About Their Infertility Struggle," 9 Dec. 2018 The recent bond sales aren’t the subject of the SEC’s lawsuit. Tatyana Shumsky, WSJ, "SEC Lawsuit Hampers Volkswagen CFO’s Efforts to Regain Investor Trust," 15 Mar. 2019 Once news broke about the college cheating scandal involving actresses Lori Loughlin and Felicity Huffman, somehow Kelly Ripa became the subject of speculation. Michelle Manetti, Good Housekeeping, "Every Question You Have About Kelly Ripa's Husband and Three Kids, Answered," 13 Mar. 2019 But once the subject of the royal couple had been broached, Clooney wasted no time rushing to Meghan Markle's defense. Chloe Foussianes, Town & Country, "George Clooney Says Meghan Markle Is Being "Vilified," Just Like Princess Diana Was," 12 Feb. 2019 Here’s how The subject of this description is radiometric dating, which uses radioactive decay of some elements to figure out how old things are. John Timmer, Ars Technica, "Video: How do we figure out that rocks are billions of years old?," 30 Oct. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

Chinese imports potentially subject to Trump's latest tariffs range from baseball gloves to seafood to oxygen to raincoats. Paul Davidson, USA TODAY, "Trade wars are damaging, so why is Trump fighting one with China?," 13 July 2018 Body parts subject to the most prolific fibropapillomatosis tumor growth include the eyes – affecting turtles’ ability to see and survive in the wild – and the soft, vulnerable underside of the shell. Jessica Alice Farrell, Smithsonian, "Should We Share Human Cancer Treatments With Tumorous Turtles?," 11 July 2018 His bid to take the company private is scheduled to close during the second half of 2018, subject to approvals and closing conditions. Chabeli Herrera, miamiherald, "New proposal put his plan at risk, but Perry Ellis founder may still win back company," 6 July 2018 That project, which began operating last year, faced numerous lawsuits during construction and is still subject to pending legal disputes. Katherine Blunt, San Antonio Express-News, "Building pipeline support, one chicken, lamb and goat at a time," 5 July 2018 Mahaux also took Melania Trump's official White House portrait, which is public and not subject to the licensing arrangement. NBC News, "News media paid Melania Trump thousands for use of photos in 'positive stories only'," 2 July 2018 Even those from red families were more likely than my acquaintances in New York to know someone who has had a child out of wedlock or is subject to a restraining order. Jeet Heer, The New Republic, "Trump’s sexual misconduct does not embody working class family values.," 2 July 2018 Take a deep breath: Beloved Supreme Court Justice and Academy Award–nominated documentary subject Ruth Bader Ginsburg is back at work two months after undergoing surgery for lung cancer. Vogue, "Ruth Bader Ginsburg Is Back in Action on the Supreme Court," 19 Feb. 2019 Furthermore, bits of masonry are subject to fall of the building's facade, one of which narrowly missed Princess Anne in 2007. Chloe Foussianes, Town & Country, "Why Prince Charles and Other Royal Family Members Secretly Dislike Buckingham Palace," 27 Jan. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The family points out that Jackson was subjected to a thorough investigation that included a surprise raid of his home, the Neverland Ranch, but was still acquitted at his criminal trial in 2005, in a case involving another young man. Andrew Dalton, The Seattle Times, "Michael Jackson family condemns new documentary on accusers," 29 Jan. 2019 Cayman Airways and all carriers operating in Indonesia have grounded the MAX 8, while authorities India are subjecting the planes to review. Sam Blum, Popular Mechanics, "Now Britain Is Grounding All Boeing 737 Max 8 Jets Following Catastrophic Ethiopia Crash," 11 Mar. 2019 But there was no cynic present, only a former junk-food lover preparing to subject all of these healthy nibbles to a rigorous taste test. Tamar Adler, Vogue, "Is Healthy Snack Food Actually Healthy—or Just Addictive?," 18 Jan. 2019 And this is especially true for people who were put on diets or subjected to hurtful remarks about their bodies early in life. Abby Langer, SELF, "How to Rid Yourself of the Diet Mentality and Stop Dieting Once and For All," 6 Jan. 2019 Who have seen a woman vilified, attacked, and even subjected to death threats after making an allegation of abuse. Emily Stewart, Vox, "“In stepping forward, you took a huge risk”: Christine Blasey Ford honors Rachael Denhollander, who spoke up about Larry Nassar," 12 Dec. 2018 Jones was also subjected to extreme racist abuse following the release of the Ghostbusters reboot, which included her being doxxed and her website being hacked. Amy Mackelden, Harper's BAZAAR, "Leslie Jones Slams New Ghostbusters Movie That Ignores the Female Reboot," 20 Jan. 2019 The engines were subjected to flight tests last March when a single turbine was paired to a Boeing 747 test bed. Sam Blum, Popular Mechanics, "GE's Enormous New Jet Engines Sound Fiercely Loud in Runway Test," 17 Jan. 2019 All Chinese gifts and grants should be subjected to heightened scrutiny, beyond the standard practices for other charitable contributions. William A. Galston, WSJ, "Roll Back China’s Soft-Power Campaign," 4 Dec. 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

11 Apr 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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