sub·ju·gate | \ ˈsəb-ji-ˌgāt \
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 \ noun
subjugator \ˈsəb-ji-ˌgā-tər \ 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

America once inspired subjugated people and sought to promote democracy. The Economist, "After decades of triumph, democracy is losing ground," 14 June 2018 One read is that there’s no escaping the suffocation of a subjugating regime. Margaret Lyons, New York Times, "‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ Season 2 Is Brutal and Not Much Else," 11 July 2018 Reformers of the 1980s argued correctly that the interests of shareholders were too often subjugated to personal interest and small-group social dynamics on boards that compel unanimity. Paul S. Levy, WSJ, "University Boardrooms Need Reform," 10 June 2018 But as satisfying as watching this moment play out in media might feel for women who have been subjugated and abused, the consequences can be jarring. Eliana Dockterman, Time, "Female Rage on Television Reaches a Boiling Point in Dietland," 31 May 2018 Erardi writes about him with a suggestive and subjugating prose, without grammatical pirouettes. Jorge Ebro, miamiherald, "This is why this book about Tony Perez is a must-read for fans, lovers of Cuban history | Miami Herald," 18 May 2018 Mahathir was credited with modernizing Malaysia during his 22 year rule that ended in 2003 but was also known as a heavy-handed leader who imprisoned opponents and subjugated the courts. Eileen Ng And Stephen Wright, The Christian Science Monitor, "Opposition win ends 60-year rule, sending political tremors through Malaysia," 10 May 2018 Mahathir was credited with modernizing Malaysia during his 22-year rule that ended in 2003 but was also known as a heavy-handed leader who imprisoned opponents and subjugated the courts. Eileen Ng,, "Opposition win ends Malaysia party’s 60-year hold on power," 10 May 2018 Congress worked out proposals to eradicate and subjugate Native American tribes. Ezra Klein, Vox, "American democracy has faced worse threats than Donald Trump," 10 May 2018

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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Statistics for subjugate

Last Updated

25 Aug 2018

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Time Traveler for subjugate

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

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English Language Learners Definition of subjugate

: 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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Comments on subjugate

What made you want to look up subjugate? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


occurring twice a year or every two years

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