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

Keep scrolling for more

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

Big, who in the film is taught from a young age to strive toward responsibility, agreeability, and success, can’t thrive, or even survive, in a world that uses his desires as a way to subjugate him. Prince Shakur, Teen Vogue, ""Native Son" Reflects a World Where Young Black Men Are Often Set Up to Fail," 16 Apr. 2019 Its objectives are to spread the Islamic revolution from Tehran to Damascus, to destroy Israel, and to subjugate anyone who refuses to submit, starting with the Iranian people. Mike Pompeo, WSJ, "The U.S.-Saudi Partnership Is Vital," 27 Nov. 2018 Shame on Cal State Long Beach President Jane Close Conoley for offering up Prospector Pete as scapegoat for a university, city and state that all have names associated with occupiers who murdered and subjugated indigenous peoples. WSJ, "Cal State Long Beach Has Only Begun Virtue," 30 Sep. 2018 The Power begins in a world in which women are subjugated, in which they are raped and ignored and belittled and live their lives in fear. Constance Grady, Vox, "How 3 feminist dystopias are trying to update The Handmaid’s Tale for today," 29 Aug. 2018 Being president requires enormous self-discipline and a willingness to subjugate one’s own personal interests and desires to the good of the country. Chris Stirewalt, Fox News, "Is 2018 really all about Russia?," 18 July 2018 Television has taught us that in the world of historical fiction, women are subjugated and men rule. Mehera Bonner, Marie Claire, "That 'White Princess' Rape Scene Was the Most Feminist Moment TV Has Seen in a Long Time," 17 Apr. 2017 Mahathir, prime minister for 22 years until stepping down in 2003, was credited with modernizing Malaysia but was also known as a heavy-handed leader who imprisoned opponents and subjugated the courts. Washington Post, "Mahathir Malaysia’s leader again after ruling party booted," 12 May 2018 America once inspired subjugated people and sought to promote democracy. The Economist, "After decades of triumph, democracy is losing ground," 14 June 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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about subjugate

Statistics for subjugate

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for subjugate

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for subjugate

subjugate

verb

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.)

Keep scrolling for more

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).

WORD OF THE DAY

showing courage and determination

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words for Summer: A Quiz

  • a closeup of a sunflower
  • Which of the following words means “of or relating to summer”?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

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!