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 subject (audio) , -​(ˌ)jekt-​ \ adjective

Verb

subjection \ səb-​ˈjek-​shən How to pronounce subject (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 camera circles around, trying to get a better glimpse, and finally focuses on the unfortunate, gray-fleshed, long-deceased subject as its intestines are pulled out and examined. BostonGlobe.com, "Doc Talk: Medical practice, paternity test, musical inspiration," 8 Apr. 2021 Painted around 1627, the portrait shows its subject, a legendary heroine of ancient Rome, directing a dagger toward her bare chest just seconds before stabbing herself. Isis Davis-marks, Smithsonian Magazine, "This Artemisia Gentileschi Painting Spent Centuries Hidden From Public View," 7 Apr. 2021 The subject, who was armed with a gun, was taken into custody by the SWAT team using a less than lethal tactic. Henri Hollis, ajc, "Man barricaded in Forsyth home captured by SWAT unit," 7 Apr. 2021 It’s the No. 1 priority remaining on the agenda — and the subject of some acrimonious exchanges between state delegates and senators over the weekend on social media, casting blame for delays. Bryn Stole, baltimoresun.com, "One week to go: Policing reform, sports betting top agenda for closing days of the Maryland General Assembly," 5 Apr. 2021 But the people themselves — including her most famous portrait subject, former First Lady Michelle Obama — are gray. Makeda Easter Staff Writer, Los Angeles Times, "How Amy Sherald’s paintings capture the spectacularly mundane moments of Black life," 31 Mar. 2021 When asked about Academic Games’ greatest benefits to Detroit students, Holstein did not hesitate to identify a subject which never loses its importance regardless of what is going on in the world — math. Scott Talley, Freep.com, "Detroit educator, Academic Games coach Christopher Holstein still 'quintessential' teacher," 31 Mar. 2021 The incident, which resulted in a trial over whether excessive and unnecessary force was used, is the subject of a new American Experience documentary, The Blinding of Isaac Woodard, premiering Mar. 30 on PBS. Olivia B. Waxman, Time, "How a 1946 Case of Police Brutality Against a Black WWII Veteran Shaped the Fight for Civil Rights," 30 Mar. 2021 And then there’s the subject of Dylan (Jesse LaVercombe), Greta’s husband, who knows how to hunt (and even convinced Greta to eat meat), is full of insinuating looks, and seems to have gotten Greta out from under her sister’s thumb. K. Austin Collins, Rolling Stone, "‘Violation’ Is Latest Rape-Revenge Thriller That Seeks to Subvert the Genre," 27 Mar. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Prices subject to change without notice and any coupons mentioned above may be available in limited supply. Chris Hachey, BGR Canada, "MyQ, Amazon’s hottest smart home device, is $50.24 for one day only," 12 Apr. 2021 Prices subject to change without notice and any coupons mentioned above may be available in limited supply. Maren Estrada, BGR, "There’s a secret sale for Prime members on Sony noise cancelling headphones," 12 Apr. 2021 Commercial sales of marijuana are to start before April 2022 under the legislation and will be subject to an initial tax of 12%, which will eventually be raised to 18%. Gina Heeb, Forbes, "New Mexico Legalizes Recreational Marijuana, Erases Some Drug-Related Criminal Records," 12 Apr. 2021 The ruling was subject to a 60-day review, and SKI had threatened to stop completion of the $2.6 billion facility in Commerce, GA., unless President Joe Biden reversed the decision. Christiaan Hetzner, Fortune, "Volkswagen’s ambitious American EV plan back on track as battery suppliers make peace," 12 Apr. 2021 Plus, districts stressed that plans are still subject to change and will include precautions made with local health departments. Arika Herron, The Indianapolis Star, "Here’s a look at what Central Indiana high schools are planning for graduation this year," 12 Apr. 2021 Theme park reservations are subject to availability. Morgan Hines, USA TODAY, "Disneyland tickets prices, tiers: What you need to know to book your next adventure," 12 Apr. 2021 Hours are subject to change; call (858) 527-1419 or visit northcountyfoodbank.org/pantry. Laura Groch, San Diego Union-Tribune, "North County Business Briefs, April 11," 11 Apr. 2021 For example, if a minor obtained a firearm that the owner knew or should have known that minor could access, the owner would be subject to a Class A violation which currently carries a fine of $225 to $2,000. oregonlive, "Oregon House scheduled to vote this week on gun storage mandate," 11 Apr. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Biden plans to take, according to the White House, include: Requiring the Justice Department to propose a new rule that would subject pistols with stabilizing braces to the requirements of the National Firearms Act. Ryan W. Miller, USA TODAY, "What are ghost guns?: Biden executive action targets 'dangerous' and 'untraceable' firearms," 8 Apr. 2021 But Roenne, unwilling to turn his colleague and their driver into American POWs or subject his wife and children to Sippenhaft, the Nazi system of collective guilt, returned to duty at the Zossen headquarters. Sigrid Macrae, Harper's Magazine, "Two Germanys," 16 Mar. 2021 Omar also alluded to the harsh conditions jails and prisons can have or subject on an inmate. Mica Soellner, Washington Examiner, "Omar leads push urging Biden administration to sever ties with local officials on migrant detainment," 15 Mar. 2021 This year, the government announced rules that subject online news outlets and video content providers to extensive regulation. Washington Post, "India is the next big frontier for Netflix and Amazon. Now, the government is tightening rules on content.," 14 Mar. 2021 Property held for less than a year is taxed as ordinary income, subject up to a 37 percent tax rate. NBC News, "If you joined the GameStop frenzy or dabbled with bitcoin, get ready for the tax man," 23 Feb. 2021 Élite sports competitions used to subject athletes to a genital check. Masha Gessen, The New Yorker, "The Movement to Exclude Trans Girls from Sports," 27 Mar. 2021 Consequently, the government was withdrawing permission for the states to subject Medicaid enrollees to work requirements. Michael Hiltzik, Los Angeles Times, "Column: Biden drives another nail into the coffin of Medicaid work requirements," 18 Mar. 2021 Experts have yet to subject Dershowitz’s claims and research to analysis, but a closed-door seminar at Harvard in 2019 resulted in fierce debate, according to The New York Times. Peter Aitken, Fox News, "Israeli-American scholar claims 'fake' Bible manuscript is actually oldest-known copy," 11 Mar. 2021

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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Time Traveler for subject

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for subject

Last Updated

13 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Subject.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/subject. Accessed 16 Apr. 2021.

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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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Comments on subject

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