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

Using the astral chain, people have managed to subjugate chimeras and use the creatures to their benefit. Gieson Cacho, The Mercury News, "Review: ‘Astral Chain’ challenges players by pushing boundaries of action game," 13 Sep. 2019 With this model, Holland was subjugated for four out of the last five years of the 1960s, before the whole of Europe was conquered in 1971 with the lifting of the famous Big-Eared trophy. SI.com, "Rinus Michels: The Most Influential Manager There Ever Was & His Total Football Legacy," 14 Aug. 2019 Could black people, subjugated and assumed to be inferior, share their masters’ longing for freedom and possess the fearlessness to try to attain it? Drew Gilpin Faust, The Atlantic, "Race, History, and Memories of a Virginia Girlhood," 18 July 2019 Walker suggested rather than destroying the Washington mural, school officials should simply cover it and require freshmen to take a course on slavery and California’s role in subjugating Native Americans. Washington Post, "San Francisco to paint over debated George Washington mural," 4 July 2019 Positioning the United States behind the rest, Trump portrayed America as a humiliated, subjugated dupe—and gave a new, more dynamic rationale to a stale neocon agenda. The New York Review of Books, "Stephen Wertheim," 2 Jan. 2019 Europe is subjugating an ever-growing share of its foreign policy and trade agendas to the appeasement of Turkey and Libya’s authoritarian leaders. Amanda Taub, New York Times, "Trump’s Immigration Approach Isn’t New: Europe and Australia Went First," 18 July 2019 The news right now is also full of stories about how women are subjugated or abused. Amanda Petrusich, The New Yorker, "Going Home with Wendell Berry," 29 May 2019 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

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

Last Updated

22 Sep 2019

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

self-evident

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

The Exceptions Quiz III

  • one green toy robot amidst many red toy robots
  • Which of these words does not mean "nonsense"?
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!