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 Yet her reading on the subject yielded an interesting discovery. Marley Marius, Vogue, "The Sound of Silence: Inside ‘Flatwing,’ Madeline Hollander’s New Exhibition at the Whitney," 29 Mar. 2021 Public records checks generally take less time but are reliant on the subject providing correct information. Arkansas Online, "U.S. waives FBI checks on caregivers at new migrant facilities," 27 Mar. 2021 Public records checks generally take less time but are reliant on the subject providing correct information. Nomaan Merchant, chicagotribune.com, "US waives FBI checks on caregivers at new migrant facilities, alarming child welfare experts," 27 Mar. 2021 On the subject of the Chinese government, Americans' views are especially negative about Chinese president Xi Jinping. Eve Bower, CNN, "Polls say Americans report record low opinions of China. Are the surveys measuring racism?," 26 Mar. 2021 Similar to what Samsung uses on the S21 Ultra and Note 20 Ultra, this sensor helps the 9 Pro focus on a subject faster and with less hassle. Jason Cipriani, CNN Underscored, "The OnePlus 9 and 9 Pro offer an excellent Android experience for less," 26 Mar. 2021 On the subject of reliably sturdy takeout options, a once-a-week (at least) rice bowl has helped my lazy self get through the winter. Rick Nelson, Star Tribune, "5 best things our restaurant critic ate in the Twin Cities this week," 26 Mar. 2021 The Constitution gives Congress the ability to set its own conditions for admitting a state but is vague on the subject of Washington, D.C. Savannah Behrmann, USA TODAY, "What would statehood for Washington, DC mean — and could it finally happen?," 25 Mar. 2021 On the subject of staying sanitary, these products will totally elevate your shower experience. Samantha Olson, Seventeen, "Grab Your Wallet, Because You're Going to Want These TikTok Amazon Finds ASAP," 25 Mar. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective The contract indicates the price would be subject to change, per the market price, after 30 days from the date of the March 23 proposal. Ed Wittenberg, cleveland, "Orange Schools’ extended learning plan offers ‘recovery instruction’ for students," 31 Mar. 2021 Anyone previously convicted of possessing an amount of marijuana now under the legal limit automatically will be subject to expungement and re-sentencing. Ivan Pereira, ABC News, "New York legalizes recreational marijuana, expunges former pot convictions," 31 Mar. 2021 But infrastructure is subject to the law of diminishing returns. Greg Ip, WSJ, "Memo to Biden: Spending Is Easy, Investing Is Hard," 31 Mar. 2021 The ballpark is likely to be subject to ongoing revisions, assuming that capacity caps are boosted as vaccinations become more widespread. BostonGlobe.com, "At Fenway this year, players will abandon the suite life and get back in the clubhouse," 30 Mar. 2021 Contributions are not subject to federal income tax, Social Security tax or Medicare tax. Washington Post, "Social Security recipients and most other federal beneficiaries should see direct deposit stimulus payments by April 7," 30 Mar. 2021 The final day of the 2021 session is today, where they are expected to move on to remaining legislation that has not yet passed both chambers, but would be subject to a veto by Beshear without the chance of an override. Joe Sonka, The Courier-Journal, "GOP sprints through 2 dozen overrides of Gov. Andy Beshear's vetoes. Here's the rundown," 30 Mar. 2021 Any transaction between the Cubic and ST Engineering would be subject to review by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the U.S., or CFIUS. Mike Freeman, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Cubic Corp. suitors sweeten buyout offers as bidding war heats up," 30 Mar. 2021 Slevin’s experience attested, living on the road is often subject to many of the same traps as living anywhere else: Unexpected costs, unpredictable work, rising health care expenses. Chris Moody, The New Republic, "The Agony and the Ecstasy of Living Nowhere," 30 Mar. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb 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 That could soften the impact, although business representatives say the rule will still subject firms—especially smaller ones—to significant new compliance costs and uncertainty. John D. Mckinnon, WSJ, "U.S. to Impose Sweeping Rule Aimed at China Technology Threats," 26 Feb. 2021 The challenge from China will subject them to their greatest test since the early days of the cold war. The Economist, "How to deal with China," 20 Mar. 2021 The change would also subject it to ownership scrutiny and the need to apply for fresh licenses. Fortune, "Ant Group CEO Simon Hu resigns for personal reasons amid China’s regulatory crackdown on fintech," 12 Mar. 2021 While your financial advisor won’t subject you to a treadmill, stress testing is one of the most important steps in the planning process. Ron Carson, Forbes, "What’s At The Heart Of Your Financial Health?," 11 Mar. 2021 Lawmakers refused to add checks on service providers and organizations working with EOAs, rejecting amendments to prohibit discrimination, track demographic data and subject them to background checks. Olivia Krauth, The Courier-Journal, "After last-minute allowance for some private schools, House passes school choice bill," 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

1 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Subject.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/subject. Accessed 12 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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