subjugate

verb
sub·​ju·​gate | \ ˈsəb-ji-ˌgāt How to pronounce subjugate (audio) \
subjugated; subjugating

Definition of subjugate

transitive verb

1 : to bring under control and governance as a subject : conquer
2 : to make submissive : subdue

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Other Words from subjugate

subjugation \ ˌsəb-​ji-​ˈgā-​shən How to pronounce subjugation (audio) \ noun
subjugator \ ˈsəb-​ji-​ˌgā-​tər How to pronounce subjugator (audio) \ noun

Did You Know?

Since jugus means "yoke" in Latin, subjugate means literally "bring under the yoke". Farmers control oxen by means of a heavy wooden yoke over their shoulders. In ancient Rome, conquered soldiers, stripped of their uniforms, might actually be forced to pass under an ox yoke as a sign of submission to the Roman victors. Even without an actual yoke, what happens to a population that has come under the control of another can be every bit as humiliating. In dozens of countries throughout the world, ethnic minorities are denied basic rights and view themselves as subjugated by their country's government, army, and police.

Examples of subjugate in a Sentence

The emperor's armies subjugated the surrounding lands. a people subjugated by invaders
Recent Examples on the Web It’s time to stop local tyrants from massive government reach and subjugating us. Lauren Mcgaughy, Dallas News, "The politics of protest: Organizers of anti-shutdown rallies in North Texas say efforts are homegrown," 24 Apr. 2020 But only one group of people is essentially subjugated by this kind of gratuitous violence. Frank B. Wilderson Iii, Harper's Magazine, "Color Theory," 30 Mar. 2020 Harriot saw that they could not be effortlessly subjugated. Stephen Greenblatt, The New Yorker, "Invisible Bullets: What Lucretius Taught Us About Pandemics," 16 Mar. 2020 Though Franz remains far from the frontlines, conscientious objection is its own sort of battle, one between the human spirit and outside forces that seek to subjugate it. Barbara Vandenburgh, azcentral, "‘A Hidden Life’ a sublime moral meditation from Terrence Malick," 19 Dec. 2019 Had the unprecedented news media coverage of the events that transpired so influenced and subjugated the minds of prospective jurors that a fair trial could not have been accorded Nixon for a year, for two years—three years? Matt Ford, The New Republic, "Ex-President Trump on Trial," 18 June 2019 The United States has split into two tribes, and one of them must always feel itself to be subjugated and humiliated while the other’s chief occupies the highest office in the land. Kevin D. Williamson, National Review, "A Host of Squalid Oligarchs," 3 Oct. 2019 With the farming left to the second class or the subjugated, full citizens were free to participate in a unique military culture that made Sparta the most formidable polis in Hellas. Steele Brand, Time, "What Ancient Rome and Greece Can Teach Us About the Modern American Military," 20 Sep. 2019 The West resolved to become a model liberal democracy, atoning for Nazi crimes and subjugating national interests to those of a post-nationalist Europe. Katrin Bennhold, New York Times, "Germany Has Been Unified for 30 Years. Its Identity Still Is Not.," 9 Nov. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'subjugate.' 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 subjugate

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 2

History and Etymology for subjugate

Middle English, from Latin subjugatus, past participle of subjugare, from sub- + jugum yoke — more at yoke

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Time Traveler for subjugate

Time Traveler

The first known use of subjugate was in the 15th century

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Cite this Entry

“Subjugate.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/subjugate. Accessed 8 Aug. 2020.

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More Definitions for subjugate

subjugate

verb
How to pronounce subjugate (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of subjugate

formal : to defeat and gain control of (someone or something) by the use of force : to conquer and gain the obedience of (a group of people, a country, etc.)

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