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 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.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

At one point, one of his interview subjects independently references that exact fable, no prompting necessary. Wired, "The Lovability of Malcolm Gladwell: A Gladwellian Analysis," 9 Sep. 2019 The traditional image of a memorial is an immutable tribute, literally written in stone — if also potentially susceptible to shifting views of its subject, as demonstrated by ongoing debate over Confederate statues around the American South. Washington Post, "At 9/11 memorial, new recognition for a longer-term toll," 9 Sep. 2019 Its real subject, however, is the nature of intimacy. Judith Thurman, The New Yorker, "James Atlas’s Life in Life-Writing," 9 Sep. 2019 Then again, the movie’s existence and its already potent reception, could be victory enough for its real-life subject. Los Angeles Times, "Toronto Film Festival cheers ‘Just Mercy’ as Jamie Foxx, Michael B. Jordan enter the Oscar race," 6 Sep. 2019 His instantly recognizable photographs, which intimately captured the very essence of his subjects, were—and will always remain—among the most arresting and seductive images ever. Harper's BAZAAR, "Glenda Bailey on Peter Lindbergh’s “Gently Seductive” Photography," 4 Sep. 2019 Another trope was to cast a cinematic gaze upon his subject, capturing her from afar or through a window, say. Vogue, "A Look Back at Peter Lindbergh’s Work for Vogue," 4 Sep. 2019 In the meantime, the rogue ruler sidestepped taxation laws and whipped up hatred among his subjects, sentiments that fueled a civil war and his eventual execution for treason. Erin Blakemore, National Geographic, "The dramatic history of prorogation in British parliament," 29 Aug. 2019 Her previous documentary subjects have included TV makeover shows, a Holocaust survivor living in Baltimore and the Sicilian Saint Agatha, patron saint of victims of breast cancer. Chris Kaltenbach, baltimoresun.com, "BSO music director Marin Alsop to be featured in documentary," 29 Aug. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

And advertisements for housing are subject to more scrutiny than other advertisements. Jack Greiner, Cincinnati.com, "Strictly Legal: Is Facebook advertising discriminatory?," 10 Sep. 2019 Students who violate our few rules are subject to dismissal at our sole discretion. National Geographic, "Admission Details," 10 Sep. 2019 If the state’s baton ban is ultimately overturned, possession may still be subject to some kind of limits. San Diego Union-Tribune, "San Diego military vets challenge California’s weapon ban on batons," 9 Sep. 2019 Not all gun purchases are subject to a federal background check system. Lisa Marie Pane, The Denver Post, "U.S. mass shooters exploited gaps, errors in background checks," 7 Sep. 2019 And those that contain more are subject to a byzantine regulatory system that can prevent even scientists from studying their contents. Jamie Ducharme, Time, "Is Vaping Marijuana Safe? Deaths and Lung Disease Linked to E-Cigs Call That Into Question," 6 Sep. 2019 Schools that have several years of failing grades could be subject to state intervention. Arika Herron, Indianapolis Star, "ILEARN scores are back and fewer than half of Indiana's students passed. Here's what's next.," 4 Sep. 2019 Johnson, like Young, is a vested veteran who is not subject to waivers and can choose his next team. Cam Inman, The Mercury News, "49ers roster tracker: Who’s getting cut? Is Jerick McKinnon IR-bound?," 30 Aug. 2019 In today's world, subject and object have switched places. Wired, "How Fans Are Remaking Entertainment in Their Own Image," 19 Aug. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Nearly half the city is within the coastal zone, which doesn’t prohibit development closest to the water but does subject it to more scrutiny. Hillary Davis, Daily Pilot, "Land-use restrictions play into Newport Beach homeless shelter search," 8 Sep. 2019 According to court documents, as a result of further investigation, child pornographic images were discovered on a laptop that had been subjected to forensic examination by law enforcement officers in Imperial County, California. Carol Robinson | Crobinson@al.com, al, "Self-described Alabama ‘Bonnie and Clyde’ couple gets federal prison for making child porn," 28 Aug. 2019 After a new round of trade talks failed to produce a deal with China this week, Mr. Trump announced new tariffs on China — 10% on the remaining $300 billion in Chinese goods that have not been subjected to tariffs. CBS News, "Trump says it's "fine with me" if China doesn't want to trade with the U.S.," 1 Aug. 2019 In the lawsuit, the EEOC said the woman was subjected to harassment by the company's vice president and her production manager. Kara Carlson, Dallas News, "Screen door maker agrees to pay $55,000 to settle Texas sexual harassment case," 30 July 2019 This is especially true with excess doses of vitamin A, D, E and K. Have any of the supplements been subjected to the kinds of safety and effectiveness standards required of our prescription medications? Steven Dekosky, The Conversation, "Supplements for brain health show no benefit – a neurologist explains a new study," 20 June 2019 The most important and ultimate goal of the plan was to acquire the land that would be subjected to foreclosure if the club would cease operations. Helen Williams, nola.com, "Timberlane commission stays busy to protect future of country club," 14 June 2019 Since early May, more than 2,200 parents were subjected to that fate under the Trump administration’s policy to prosecute border crossers who entered the country illegally. Silvia Foster-frau, San Antonio Express-News, "After crossing the border, vastly different experiences for immigrant families," 21 June 2018 Bank of America, Citigroup, Wells Fargo and three other banks with large trading activities were also subjected to hypothetical shocks to global markets. Deon Roberts, charlotteobserver, "The Fed examined how local banks would fare in another downturn. Here's what it found," 21 June 2018

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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Statistics for subject

Last Updated

12 Sep 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for subject

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

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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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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

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