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 subpoena, reviewed by The Wall Street Journal, is the third such request to the committee, which is also the subject of investigations by the Manhattan U.S. attorney’s office and the New Jersey attorney general. ... Rebecca Ballhaus, WSJ, "Trump Inaugural Committee Receives Subpoena From D.C. Attorney General," 27 Feb. 2019 Kelly was recently dropped by Sony, his label, and was the subject of a devastating documentary on Lifetime called Surviving R. Kelly. Bridget Read, Vogue, "R. Kelly Is Indicted on 10 Counts of Sexual Abuse in Chicago," 22 Feb. 2019 Those problems, which can include depression, anxiety and other mental health issues, were the subject of a 2017 series in The Boston Globe. Nicole Winfield, The Seattle Times, "Priest’s son demands Vatican attention for clergy’s children," 20 Feb. 2019 Whether this was purely a move to honor a Saint—or a strategic effort to Christianize the unsavory pagan Lupercalia—is still a subject of debate. Alexandra Owens, Town & Country, "The Surprisingly Dark Story of Valentine's Day," 18 Dec. 2018 On this season of The Bachelor, though, the subject and the act become even more fraught: Colton Underwood, the Bachelor himself, has never had it. Brittney Mcnamara, Teen Vogue, "The Bachelor's Focus on Colton Underwood's Virginity Shows a Bigger Problem," 8 Jan. 2019 But historically, the shame of rejecting or being rejected by the people who are supposed to love you no matter what has kept many people from speaking out on the subject. Ashley Edwards Walker, Good Housekeeping, "What Is Estrangement — And Should You Consider It?," 21 Dec. 2018 The result, has been features like portrait mode, which can intelligently recognize the subject of a picture and then blur the remaining background. Mark Hachman, PCWorld, "Meet Qualcomm's Snapdragon 855: AI boosts, a smarter camera, mobile gaming—and bye-bye, JPEG," 5 Dec. 2018 But as his subjects have gotten smaller over the years, the large streams of data the photos produce need heavy-duty processing. Ernie Mastroianni, Discover Magazine, "Meet the Man Who Takes Pictures of Microbes," 18 Oct. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

The bill stipulates that anyone over 18 is still subject to felony child pornography charges. Lucy Diavolo, Teen Vogue, "Washington State Lawmakers Are Advancing a Bill Decriminalizing Teen Sexting," 7 Mar. 2019 The plan, which was floated in 2011, is subject to regulatory approval. ... Gunjan Banerji, WSJ, "As Stock Exchanges Multiply, Miami Wants In on the Game," 4 Mar. 2019 The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the agreement was subject to a successful physical and had not been announced. John Marshall, The Seattle Times, "Padres buzzing over impending arrival of Manny Machado," 20 Feb. 2019 Repurchase agreements typically are subject to rises in volatility at the ends of months, quarters and years or at other periods where cash is in demand. Daniel Kruger And Telis Demos, WSJ, "The Benchmark Set to Replace Libor Suffers Volatility Spike," 11 Feb. 2019 Yet Kik and others in the cryptocurrency industry say the tokens represent a new kind of asset that shouldn’t be subject to the same rules as stock or bond offerings. Dave Michaels, WSJ, "Are ICO Tokens Securities? Startup Wants a Judge to Decide," 27 Jan. 2019 But a growing number of reports about Flex suggest that some drivers are subject to low pay, long hours, and dangerous conditions — and that many don’t have as much control over their working conditions as Amazon has led them to believe. Gaby Del Valle, Vox, "Amazon is cutting costs with its own delivery service — but its drivers don’t receive benefits," 26 Dec. 2018 And employees, who are subject to often six-month lockups that keep them from selling their shares. Theodore Schleifer, Recode, "The 2019 IPO class headlined by Uber will create a ton of new wealth. Will the billions go to mansions or missions?," 20 Dec. 2018 But the change was subject to bargaining with the Seattle Police Officers Guild, which represents more than 1,300 officers and sergeants. Steve Miletich, The Seattle Times, "Defending police reforms, Seattle tells federal judge that reinstatement of officer who punched woman is an ‘outlier’," 19 Dec. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

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 She was subjected to malicious personal and Islamophobic attacks from various entities, including conservative media, the far right and random citizens. Azmia Magane, Teen Vogue, "Congresswoman-Elect Ilhan Omar Shares How She Deals With Islamophobia and Advice for Young People," 9 Nov. 2018 Being a bride meant being subjected to unsolicited commentary on nearly every aspect of my life. Lisa Peterson, Glamour, "I Grew Out My Hair for Months Before My Wedding. I Regret It.," 27 Sep. 2018 When immigrant families are thrown into detention camps together, children are subjected to a litany of traumas and treated like criminals. Callie Beusman, The Cut, "The Lasting Trauma of Family Detention," 6 July 2018 Though similar procedures were performed on mice as well as rabbits, tens of thousands of frogs were subjected to this fate. Elizabeth Kiefer, Allure, "Lia Is the Game-Changing Pregnancy Test You Can Flush Down the Toilet," 6 July 2018 He was subjected to torture again after reaffirming his support for the US mission in Vietnam. Matt Schudel, BostonGlobe.com, "James Denton, 66; journal editor and son of Vietnam POW led programs to advance democracy," 30 June 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

14 Mar 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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to corrupt or become corrupted

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