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
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 Fishing rights in the waters surrounding Britain had been a subject of bitter debate over the past few weeks. Washington Post, "The looming questions the Brexit deal didn’t answer," 1 Jan. 2021 The couple shared an enduring love story that was the subject of a 2012 feature in the Tribune. Jonathon Berlin, chicagotribune.com, "The pandemic’s cruel toll: More than 16,000 Illinoisans died from COVID-19 in 2020, disproportionately the elderly, poor and people of color," 1 Jan. 2021 New deputy clubs have emerged since then and are now the subject of an FBI investigation. Waylon Cunningham, Los Angeles Times, "These ‘rogue’ deputies were fired. So how did the Jump Out Boys win back their badges?," 1 Jan. 2021 Their relationship was the subject of the 1995 HBO film Sugartime that starred Mary-Louise Parker as Phyllis, Larissa Laskin as Dorothy, Deborah Duchene as Christine and John Turturro as Giancana. Abid Rahman, Billboard, "Phyllis McGuire, Last of Singing McGuire Sisters, Dies at 89," 31 Dec. 2020 His taxes are the subject of grand jury investigations. Bob Egelko, SFChronicle.com, "Could Trump pardon himself? It might be legal, but it could also be politically disastrous," 31 Dec. 2020 Updated every five years, the official Dietary Guidelines for Americans have long been the subject of intense lobbying, with special interests vying for recommendations that favor their respective industry or point of view. Michelle Minton, National Review, "New Alcohol Guidelines a Victory for Science over Politics," 30 Dec. 2020 Coy has been the subject of several complaints and issues involving alleged excessive force, The Columbus Dispatch reported. Fox News, "Columbus police officer who shot unarmed Black man is fired," 29 Dec. 2020 Cardin was the subject of a recent documentary, which revealed his forward-thinking optimism. Laird Borrelli-persson, Vogue, "Remembering Pierre Cardin With His Best Looks in American Vogue," 29 Dec. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Edward Foley, a law professor at Ohio State University, said that the legal questions are murky and would be subject to prosecutorial discretion. Amy Gardner, Anchorage Daily News, "In extraordinary hour-long call, Trump pressures Georgia secretary of state to recalculate the vote in his favor," 3 Jan. 2021 The Cyclones have been subject to giving up big plays in the passing game and on special teams. Michelle Gardner, The Arizona Republic, "Fiesta Bowl scouting report: First meeting for Oregon, Iowa State in 50th edition of game," 2 Jan. 2021 The 843,000 new citizens who passed the exam in 2019 are no longer subject to deportation and have the right to vote, seek federal employment and sponsor relatives living abroad, among other benefits. Bob Egelko, SFChronicle.com, "Trump’s new citizenship test more difficult, tilts in a conservative direction," 2 Jan. 2021 Older drivers would not be subject to the same limitations and technology requirements and the restrictions would mean the participants would not be representative of the industry as a whole. Washington Post, "Federal pilot program would open long-distance trucking to 18-year-olds," 31 Dec. 2020 Spouses and children 21 or younger of U.S. citizens are not subject to the restrictions, which also exempt some healthcare workers who intend to combat the coronavirus and immigrant investors who agree to invest more than $1 million in the U.S. Camilo Montoya-galvez, CBS News, "President Trump extends immigrant and work visa limits into Biden presidency," 31 Dec. 2020 Like the fall season, the CIAC’s winter season has already been subject to the uncertainty and quick-changing world of COVID-19. Shawn Mcfarland, courant.com, "CIAC executive director encouraged by recent COVID-19 numbers in Connecticut, as association’s board of control set to make decision on winter sports in coming weeks," 31 Dec. 2020 Other items that will be subject to new tariffs are premium cognacs that cost $38 per liter and higher, and some aircraft manufacturing parts, both from France and Germany. Yuka Hayashi, WSJ, "More Wine Tariffs Imposed on France and Germany by U.S.," 31 Dec. 2020 Flights were subject to a ground stop at Dallas Love Field and Dallas-Fort Worth International airports Wednesday, according to the Federal Aviation Administration. NBC News, "Dallas flights grounded as air traffic facility with 3 positive Covid tests in a week is sanitized," 30 Dec. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Under Pope Benedict XVI, the Vatican pressed Mr. McCarrick to resign from the Washington role and keep a low profile, but didn’t subject him to a church trial. Francis X. Rocca, WSJ, "Pope Francis Warns Against Division in Response to Vatican Scandals," 21 Dec. 2020 On July 14 Donald Trump issued an executive order that the US will no longer treat Hong Kong as autonomous and will now subject it to the same export controls, sanctions, and tariffs as the rest of China. Barbara Demick, The New York Review of Books, "China’s Clampdown on Hong Kong," 3 Nov. 2020 Part of the problem is that nurses in particular are increasingly unwilling to subject themselves to the hours and conditions facing them during the Covid crisis, given the average pay level. Niclas Rolander, Fortune, "Sweden’s frontline health care workers are quitting in worrying numbers as COVID cases spike," 13 Dec. 2020 Part of the problem is that nurses in particular are increasingly unwilling to subject themselves to the hours and conditions facing them during the Covid crisis, given the average pay level. Niclas Rolander, Bloomberg.com, "Swedish Covid Workers Are Quitting, Leaving ICUs Short-Staffed," 12 Dec. 2020 Nevertheless, booster seat makers in the U.S. need only to subject their seats to crash tests that mimic the forces of a frontal collision. Patricia Callahan, ProPublica, "Congressional Investigation Finds Many Booster Seat Makers “Endangered” Children’s Lives After Review of “Meaningless Safety Testing”," 11 Dec. 2020 Did Cuomo really want to subject his wife to rumors about her father? Vincent J. Cannato, National Review, "Mario Cuomo, Lauded Speech-Giver, and Governor in His Spare Time," 7 Nov. 2020 Montana Senator Jon Tester—hardly a climate hawk—introduced a bill this summer called the Leasing Market Efficiency Act, which would subject federal auctions to market pressures that Trump’s Department of Interior seems keen to avoid. Kate Aronoff, The New Republic, "Trump’s Fire Sale of Public Lands for Oil and Gas Drillers," 9 Sep. 2020 But at least Steiner didn't have to subject himself by broadcasting the game at Chase Field in Phoenix. Bob Nightengale, USA TODAY, "'I could have walked away:' Charley Steiner broadcasting Dodger games from his living room during pandemic," 9 Sep. 2020

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

6 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Subject.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/subject. Accessed 17 Jan. 2021.

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More Definitions for subject

subject

noun
How to pronounce subject (audio)

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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