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

Keep scrolling for more

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.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Atletico have been the subject of much transfer talk already this summer, with star striker Antoine Griezmann completing a big-money move to Barcelona, and high profile prospect Joao Felix joining the club. SI.com, "Alvaro Morata Admits Atletico Madrid Switch Was the 'Best Thing' to Happen in His Career," 15 July 2019 The whole thing got the Shane Dawson documentary treatment (fittingly, Jake Paul was the subject of Dawson's following YouTube deep dive) and rocketed Mongeau from enigmatic Storytime YouTuber to Public Internet Enemy #1. Kathryn Lindsay, refinery29.com, "This Is What Happens When You Play 21 Questions With Tana Mongeau," 15 July 2019 Three of the four lawmakers believed to be the subject of Trump’s tweets were born in America. Adam Taylor, Washington Post, "Responding to Uighur criticism, Chinese diplomat points to racial segregation in DC," 15 July 2019 Daphne Utilities has been the subject of litigation by the Alabama Department of Environmental Management for failure in properly notifying the public after sewage spills. al.com, "Barry’s ‘rain event’ overwhelms sewer systems, but causes little damage," 15 July 2019 The scheme the quartet is accused of undertaking is a fairly common one and has been the subject of many prosecutions in Ohio and elsewhere. Eric Heisig, cleveland.com, "Maple Heights tax preparer heads to prison for filing fraudulent returns," 15 July 2019 The constitutionality of the mandate was the subject of an earlier challenge to the A.C.A., but Chief Justice John Roberts wrote an opinion classifying the penalty as a tax, which Congress has the power to levy. Amy Davidson Sorkin, The New Yorker, "The Battle for Health Care," 14 July 2019 In past years, some men have also been the subject of dress code crackdowns, including two separate cases in 2011, when men were kicked off flights after arguing with airline staffers who asked them to pull up baggy pants. Author: Hannah Sampson, Anchorage Daily News, "What can’t you wear on an airline flight? It’s complicated.," 12 July 2019 Today, this futuristic house is a decaying relic of the past, and its future is a subject of concern and conjecture. Mark Lamster, Dallas News, "The epic tale of the House of the Century, the trippy Texas icon that defies polite description," 12 July 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

This led scientists to hypothesize that the moon was subject to intense collisions about 3.9 billion years ago, a period known as the late-heavy bombardment or, more poetically, the lunar cataclysm. Daniel Oberhaus, WIRED, "Lunar Mysteries That Science Still Needs to Solve," 16 July 2019 At what point should Calibra or the Libra Association be subject to regulation as a bank or other financial intermediary? Timothy Massad, Fortune, "Is Facebook Libra a Betrayal of Satoshi Nakamoto’s Vision?," 15 July 2019 About 10% of properties were subject to more than the 2% boost, Prang said. Doug Smith, latimes.com, "L.A. County property assessments hit record $1.6 trillion," 15 July 2019 While many of these vehicles have been subject to delays, political disputes and other challenges, this is still the most exciting and optimistic time for American ambitions in outer space in decades. Time, "See the Past, Present and Future of American Spaceflight in 4 Minutes," 15 July 2019 Granted, for being at the center of one of the biggest presidential scandals in American history, (and being subject to years of public ridicule and abuse because of it), Lewinsky has done pretty well for herself. Aj Willingham, CNN, "Monica Lewinsky shared the worst career advice she's gotten and, well...," 15 July 2019 The new rule was subject to three exceptions, according to the statement. NBC News, "Trump administration moves to end asylum protections for most Central American migrants," 15 July 2019 Figuring out how to do that is something that researchers are working on, particularly in places that, unlike New Orleans, are subject both to intense rainfalls and intense periods of drought. New York Times, "Climate Change Fills Hurricanes With More Rain, Analysis Shows," 11 July 2019 Only flights that depart from France will be subject to the taxes. Catherine Kim, Vox, "Vox Sentences: Obamacare goes to court — again," 10 July 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Major leaguers — who are subjected to strict in-season and off-season testing for performance-enhancing drugs — are on pace to hit more than 6,600 home runs this season, which would obliterate the record 6,105, set in 2017. Tyler Kepner, New York Times, "‘Just Come Out and Say It’: Players Want Answers on the Changing Ball," 9 July 2019 Federal prosecutors said Dillon Davis, 26, qualified as a career offender, subjecting him to enhanced penalties. Drew Broach, nola.com, "Kenner bank robber, a career criminal, sentenced to more than 12 years in prison," 29 June 2019 Before computer simulations did the trick, engineers built miniature models with photoelastic materials, subjected them to forces and observed the stress colorscape. Bridget Alex, Discover Magazine, "What Science Says About Why You're Stressed and How to Cope," 21 June 2019 But rather than acknowledging these efforts to restrict women’s reproduction in the interests of society, Thomas targets the women who are subjected to them. Audrey Farley, Longreads, "We Still Don’t Know How to Navigate the Cultural Legacy of Eugenics," 20 June 2019 The numbers were even starker for trans and gender non-conforming youth who had been subjected to conversion therapy — 57% reported attempting suicide. Teen Vogue, "Inside the Fight to Ban Conversion Therapy for LGBTQ Youth Through State Laws," 14 June 2019 The sales from the caps went to a charity called Casa 1, which provides assistance and housing to gay and trans youths that have been subjected to violence or expulsion from their own homes. Nick Remsen, Vogue, "Rio de Janeiro, Right Now: 5 Reasons to Visit the Extraordinary Brazilian City," 19 Mar. 2019 In late 2002, Haspel oversaw a secret facility in Thailand where Nashiri was subjected to waterboarding and other tactics. Alan Cowell And Charlie Savage, miamiherald, "Lithuania and Romania complicit in CIA prisons, European court says," 1 June 2018 As a result, Floro was subjected to constant harassment and threats from other inmates, according to his lawyer. oregonlive.com, "Federal jury finds Oregon corrections officer put inmate in harm’s way, awards $350,000 in damages," 2 July 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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about subject

Statistics for subject

Last Updated

18 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for subject

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

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

Keep scrolling for more

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

Keep scrolling for more

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

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

WORD OF THE DAY

something desired as essential

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

What's that Smell?! Quiz

  • wide eyed dog smelling rose
  • Someone who is hircine smells like a:
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!