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

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 The trial involves 360 volunteers across the country, and the first subjects have already been injected with their doses, Pfizer announced on Tuesday. Tresa Baldas, Detroit Free Press, "Pfizer begins coronavirus vaccine testing in US; Mich. lab could mass produce it," 5 May 2020 There too the subject controlled the telling of the narrative; there, the results were inspired. cleveland, "‘Becoming,’ the Michelle Obama documentary, coming to Netflix Wednesday (review)," 5 May 2020 Upon realizing that he was being watched, the subject dropped the equipment and ran to his car before fleeing the area. Houston Chronicle, "Memorial Villages Police Department weekly report," 4 May 2020 The linebacker played one year with Green Bay and is better nown as the subject of a trade when the Packers sent him to the Raiders after the 1974 season. Jr Radcliffe, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "50 in 50: Robin Yount reaches 3,000 hits," 4 May 2020 Werner recommends parents schedule activity breaks between homeschool subjects. oregonlive, "Get the whole family moving with these fast exercises in between homeschooling," 4 May 2020 Here’s the inside story of the ship—3,711 people who became subjects in a life-and-death quarantine experiment. Aarian Marshall, Wired, "Fewer Wrecks, Grounded Planes, and More Car News This Week," 3 May 2020 Investigators reported both subjects have been identified, but did not release their names Saturday. Tim Evans, Indianapolis Star, "Hamilton County deputies investigating early morning shooting in Arcadia," 2 May 2020 Unsubstantiated claims have spread that it will be tested on black subjects who are unwilling or have not been informed. NBC News, "Coronavirus misinformation crosses divides to infect black social media," 2 May 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Along with other retailers big and small, Apple Stores have been subject to looting by opportunists amid the ongoing protests around the United States. Samuel Axon, Ars Technica, "iPhone looters find devices disabled, with a warning they’re being tracked," 3 June 2020 All people arriving from several countries, including the U.S., are subject to a 14-day quarantine. Alison Fox, Travel + Leisure, "Dreaming of Heading to the Caribbean? Here's Every Island's Plan for Reopening," 3 June 2020 Sally Challen’s release last year was a landmark victory for groups defending women who are subject to abuse. Elian Peltier, BostonGlobe.com, "Abused woman who killed husband is granted the family’s UK estate," 1 June 2020 Any restrictions are subject to orders issued by local and state governments, however. Ryan Craggs, Houston Chronicle, "What to know about traveling in Texas during COVID-19," 29 May 2020 Sweepstakes is subject to all applicable U. S. federal, state and local laws and regulations. Ew Staff, EW.com, "EW Outlander Prize Pack Giveaway official rules," 29 May 2020 Those who fail to make the cut will be left with the pleasures of a technical education that is always less useful to them, skills that will be subject to obsolescence as industries change. Marilynne Robinson, The New York Review of Books, "What Kind of Country Do We Want?," 27 May 2020 Research by the University of Texas Marine Science Institute indicates flounder larvae are subject to a narrow temperature range necessary for survival. Matt Wyatt, ExpressNews.com, "Texas flounder regulations approved; season closure delayed a year," 23 May 2020 All the facilities are subject to social-distancing and sanitation rules and guidelines. Leada Gore | Lgore@al.com, al, "Theaters, sports practices, summer camps can reopen, Ivey says," 21 May 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb They were subjected to especially cruel, gendered violence, which sprung directly from the propaganda spread by Suharto with Western help. Vincent Bevins, The New York Review of Books, "How ‘Jakarta’ Became the Codeword for US-Backed Mass Killing," 20 May 2020 South Korea’s approach to COVID-19 with its focus on technology suggests a possible path for the U.S. in reopening the country without having to subject citizens to the coercive authority of the state and compromise our democratic ideal. Michael Ahn, The Conversation, "How South Korea flattened the coronavirus curve with technology," 21 Apr. 2020 Officers were dispatched to the area in reference to subject possibly passed out inside of a parked vehicle. Houston Chronicle, "Memorial Villages Police Department weekly report," 9 Mar. 2020 Not all of the records are subjected to the three-year deadline after a complaint is investigated by ICE and the Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties. Christina Carrega, ABC News, "Civil rights organizations file requests to preserve ICE records," 19 Feb. 2020 Thousands of students in the Flint Community Schools and more than a third of Flint residents were subjected to improperly treated water tainted by lead leaching from water pipes. Rochelle Riley, Freep.com, "Flint boy was suspended, sent home from school 50+ times. His mom blames water crisis.," 13 Dec. 2019 Inter Milan’s Romelu Lukaku has also been subjected to multiple instances of racist abuse, which fans and administrators alike have dismissed as not being that big a deal, or a misunderstanding, or just the actions of a few bad apples. Nate Scott, For The Win, "Italian soccer is dealing with a massive racism problem. Then a major soccer newspaper wrote a super racist headline.," 5 Dec. 2019 Years later, Ram and Sita are reunited, but only to be subjected to taunts again. Manavi Kapur, Quartz India, "Ram: The gentle, tragic prince who became the face of aggressive Hindu nationalism," 9 Nov. 2019 Anyone who performs the damaging practice, which 9 of 10 Sudanese women have been subjected to, will face the possibility of a three-year prison sentence. Fortune, "U.S. women’s soccer team is dealt a blow in its legal battle. Is it a setback for all equal pay?," 4 May 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.

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

Time Traveler for subject

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Statistics for subject

Last Updated

8 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Subject.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/subject. Accessed 7 Jun. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

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

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

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for subject

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with 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

See Definitions and Examples »

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

May 2020 Words of the Day Quiz

  • a blooming wisteria tree
  • Which is a synonym of exiguous?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Syn City

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!