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 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.
See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun But the question that hounds Tether—and is the subject of an investigation by the New York attorney general’s office—is whether its most attractive quality is really just to artificially inflate the value of Bitcoin. Jacob Silverman, The New Republic, "Is Tether Just a Scam to Enrich Bitcoin Investors?," 13 Jan. 2021 Whether Caligula got a raw deal from history is a subject of hot and unyielding debate. New York Times, "Caligula’s Garden of Delights, Unearthed and Restored," 12 Jan. 2021 The committee met online Monday (Jan. 11) to finalize its discussion on the legislation, which in past years has been the subject of Planning Commission talks and approval. cleveland, "South Euclid council to act on legislation that would regulate vacant commercial buildings," 12 Jan. 2021 Not to mention, her own family — the Featheringtons — is often the subject of scathing criticism from Lady Whistledown (which is certainly a genius move to ensure that no one will suspect her!). Hannah Jeon, Good Housekeeping, "Who Is Lady Whistledown in 'Bridgerton'? All the Clues You Missed From the Netflix Drama," 4 Jan. 2021 At the age of 89, Thapar is the subject of attacks by supporters of India’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party, or BJP, who view her as an opponent to be discredited. Washington Post, "In the battle over India’s history, Hindu nationalists square off against a respected historian," 3 Jan. 2021 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 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective The person spoke on condition of anonymity Friday because each agreement is subject to a successful physical. Kluber, the 2014 and 2017 AL Cy Young Award winner, won 56 games for Cleveland over the 2016-18 seasons. BostonGlobe.com, "Cubs avoid salary arbitration with a trio of stars who struggled in 2020," 15 Jan. 2021 The agency will be subject to periodic reviews over the next two years by the Office of Civil Rights within the U.S. Health and Human Services Department. Arizona Republic, "DCS to get federal oversight for failing to serve families that don't speak English," 15 Jan. 2021 Twenty-five have been subject to legal enforcement or consumer alerts, many by the CFPB and the Federal Trade Commission. Washington Post, "Debt collectors, payday lenders collected over $500 million in federal pandemic relief," 15 Jan. 2021 Under this approach, the bill would require only a simple majority to pass and would not be subject to being blocked by a filibuster. CBS News, "Biden to unveil new $1.9 trillion COVID relief bill," 14 Jan. 2021 Businesses on the list are subject to harsh restrictions, including a ban on American investment. Laura He, CNN, "Xiaomi and other Chinese companies slapped with US restrictions as Trump's term winds down," 14 Jan. 2021 Steve Dickson told Reuters that those who engage in disorderly conduct while on a flight may be subject to up to $35,000 fines and possible jail time. Haley Victory Smith, Washington Examiner, "FAA chief orders 'zero tolerance approach' for rowdy airline passengers after recent incidents," 13 Jan. 2021 The office notes that there will be no parades, and that the famous Bourbon Street will be subject to local and state COVID-19 guidelines. Juliana Labianca, Good Housekeeping, "When Is Mardi Gras This Year? Everything You Need to Know About Fat Tuesday," 13 Jan. 2021 However, private companies like Twitter are not subject to the First Amendment protections over free speech, which apply to the government. Roland Li, SFChronicle.com, "Twitter CEO on Trump ban: ‘right decision’ but broader bans could be ‘destructive’ to internet," 13 Jan. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb While the Clean Air Act gives the executive branch authority to set emissions limits, those regulations can subject to a lengthy process of scientific study and public comments. Gregory Korte, Bloomberg.com, "Biden’s Promises for Day One Could Take Months to Fulfill," 15 Jan. 2021 The measures may also subject third country companies and individuals to U.S. sanctions if they are found to be engaging in transactions with them. Matthew Lee, Star Tribune, "US hits Iran's envoy to Yemen, Chinese firms with sanctions," 8 Dec. 2020 Pevehouse, the defense attorney, asked the jury to consider why someone who was guilty of rape would ever subject himself to the statewide and even global spotlight of the Iditarod. Kyle Hopkins, Anchorage Daily News, "Former Iditarod musher found guilty of rape, kidnapping in 19-year-old cold case," 5 Nov. 2020 For road teams, experts suggested the league should subject all pilots, bus drivers and hotel workers to the same protocols. Mark Medina, USA TODAY, "Why health experts are skeptical NBA can begin next season with fans in arenas," 6 Oct. 2020 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

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

19 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Subject.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/subject. Accessed 27 Jan. 2021.

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

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

Test Your Vocabulary

Slippery Words Quiz—Changing with the Times

  • ducreux self portrait yawning
  • What is an earlier meaning of nice?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Typeshift

Anagram puzzles meet word search.

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!