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

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 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

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

17 Nov 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

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living or existing for a long time

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