subordinate

adjective
sub·​or·​di·​nate | \ sə-ˈbȯr-də-nət How to pronounce subordinate (audio) , -ˈbȯrd-nət \

Definition of subordinate

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1 : placed in or occupying a lower class, rank, or position : inferior a subordinate officer
2 : submissive to or controlled by authority
3a : of, relating to, or constituting a clause that functions as a noun, adjective, or adverb

subordinate

noun
sub·​or·​di·​nate | \ sə-ˈbȯr-də-nət How to pronounce subordinate (audio) , -ˈbȯrd-nət \

Definition of subordinate (Entry 2 of 3)

: one who stands in order or rank below another : one that is subordinate

subordinate

verb
sub·​or·​di·​nate | \ sə-ˈbȯr-də-ˌnāt How to pronounce subordinate (audio) \
subordinated; subordinating

Definition of subordinate (Entry 3 of 3)

transitive verb

1 : to make subject or subservient
2 : to treat as of less value or importance stylist … whose crystalline prose subordinates content to form— Susan Heath

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Other Words from subordinate

Adjective

subordinately adverb
subordinateness noun

Verb

subordinative \ sə-​ˈbȯr-​də-​ˌnā-​tiv How to pronounce subordinative (audio) \ adjective

Synonyms & Antonyms for subordinate

Synonyms: Adjective

Synonyms: Noun

Synonyms: Verb

Antonyms: Adjective

Antonyms: Noun

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Examples of subordinate in a Sentence

Adjective About two-thirds of the way through, this nonsense comes to life for fifteen minutes when the point of view shifts to that of a subordinate character, an aging thug (well played by Laurence Fishburne) who is employed by the casino to spot card counters. — Richard Alleva, Commonweal, May 9, 2008 A reporter's right to protect a source is a subordinate matter that obfuscates the more important issue of violating journalistic integrity and responsibility when one becomes an agent, if not a pawn, of a mean-spirited and vindictive retaliation scheme. — Jon Duffey, Editor & Publisher, 13 Oct. 2003 She was thirty-three, furiously frustrated with her subordinate role in the studio—attending to the model's hair, makeup, and clothes—and chronically dissatisfied with her own pictures, which represented a different kind of woman's work. — Judith Thurman, New Yorker, 13 Oct. 2003 his contention is that environment plays a subordinate role to heredity in determining what we become Noun Case in point: the dismissal of advertising chief Julie Roehm, accused of having an affair with a subordinate (also fired) and taking freebies from an advertising agency (also fired) in violation of company policies. — Bill Saporito, Time, 12 Nov. 2007 He ran an extremely unhappy headquarters. He tended to berate subordinates, frequently shouting and cursing at them. — Thomas E. Ricks, Fiasco, 2006 She also found it impossible to give negative feedback. As a consequence, her work and that of her subordinates started to suffer, and she was missing deadlines. — Steven Berglas, Harvard Business Review, June 2002 She leaves the day-to-day running of the firm to her subordinates. subordinates do most of the actual creation of the famous designer's clothing designs Verb Clinton administration Trade Representative Mickey Kantor declared: "The days when we could afford to subordinate our economic interests to foreign policy or defense concerns are long past." — Lawrence F. Kaplan, New Republic, 18 Mar. 2002 The real reason, though, is that art survives life, and this unpalatable realization lies behind the lumpen desire to subordinate the former to the latter. The finite always mistakes the permanent for the infinite and nurtures designs upon it. — Joseph Brodsky, Times Literary Supplement, 26 Oct. 1990 it is one of the lessons of history that more powerful civilizations often subordinate weaker ones
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective In a chilling report released a few weeks ago about Hollywood’s subordinate relationship to Beijing, PEN America described the forces that have given China the whip hand. Rich Lowry, National Review, "Hollywood Shamefully Kowtows to Beijing," 9 Sep. 2020 In a quest for normalcy over the past few months of closures, the desire among gym-goers to get back at it has seemed subordinate only to people’s urge to return to bars and restaurants. Amanda Mull, The Atlantic, "Americans Just Can’t Quit the Gym," 8 Sep. 2020 The retailer is also asking a judge to subordinate Marble Ridge’s claims against Neiman during its bankruptcy proceedings. Soma Biswas, WSJ, "Neiman Marcus Sues Marble Ridge Over Alleged Bid Rigging," 27 Aug. 2020 Black Americans were expected to be subordinate to whites, hardly valued for their labor and certainly not their intellect. Keisha N. Blain, Smithsonian Magazine, "Fannie Lou Hamer’s Dauntless Fight for Black Americans’ Right to Vote," 20 Aug. 2020 That vote probably would be cast by a Dykes subordinate serving as her ex-officio designee on the board. Jon Lender, courant.com, "Jon Lender: What is up with the Lamont administration and freedom of information?," 8 Aug. 2020 The virtuous ones—patriotism and professional principle—were clearly subordinate to the other two. Jonathan Stevenson, The New York Review of Books, "Revenge Served Tepid," 3 Aug. 2020 To compound matters, Ball’s prose is relentlessly truncated: short declarative sentences that leave the reader longing for a subordinate clause, a compound sentence, or even a dangling participle. David Holahan, USA TODAY, "'Life of a Klansman' review: Edward Ball confronts the bad (racist) apples in his Family Tree," 2 Aug. 2020 Mark Roosevelt says a memorial that depicts Native Americans and an African in subordinate roles to the 26th president should be taken down. CBS News, "This week on "Sunday Morning" (July 12)," 10 July 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Reached by phone, Highfill referred questions to his attorney, Michael Zerlin of Thibodaux, who declined through a subordinate to respond to detailed questions. Ramon Antonio Vargas, NOLA.com, "After years of accusations, this retired New Orleans priest is now on a clergy abuse list," 19 Aug. 2020 The suit alleges that Easterbrook, who was fired for sexting with a subordinate, did far more than that. Beth Kowitt, Fortune, "McDonald’s takes on accusations of ‘sexual harassment problem’ with lawsuit against former CEO," 12 Aug. 2020 In The Assistant, which Bleecker Street released early this year, Garner almost wordlessly holds the screen as a subordinate to a powerful, abusive Harvey Weinstein-like industry figure. Rebecca Keegan, The Hollywood Reporter, ""She Sticks Her Finger Right Into the Socket": How 'Ozark' Star Julia Garner Became a Scene-Stealer and Emmy Favorite," 12 Aug. 2020 McDonald's is trying to take back stock options and other compensation reportedly worth more than $40 million that Easterbrook was allowed to keep last fall when he was fired for sexting with a subordinate. Harold Maass, TheWeek, "The daily business briefing: August 11, 2020," 11 Aug. 2020 Wenig's subordinate passed some of the messages on to Baugh. Aaron Pressman, Fortune, "Cockroaches, a bloody pig mask, and a coverup. The 5 craziest allegations against former eBay officials," 15 June 2020 Late Night complicated the narrative by introducing a young woman of colour (Kaling as Molly) as a subordinate to an incredibly successful older white woman (Katherine Newberry, played by Emma Thompson). Anne Cohen, refinery29.com, "The High Note Doesn’t Want To Be The Devil Wears Prada — & That’s A Good Thing," 1 June 2020 Almost daily reports in the British media of rifts between Johnson's subordinates left the nation's political system feeling rudderless. Luke Mcgee, CNN, "What Donald Trump can learn from Boris Johnson as coronavirus cases are found in White House," 11 May 2020 Rather than being given discrete tasks and the autonomy to execute them, subordinates are expected to consult with managers every step of the way. Simon Denyer, Washington Post, "Work from home, they said. In Japan, it’s not so easy.," 5 Apr. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The excerpt depicts Trump as an erratic, ill-informed, and unscrupulous leader eager to subordinate U.S. national security objectives to boost his own bid for re-election. Grady Mcgregor, Fortune, "The fallout of John Bolton’s China bombshells," 18 June 2020 Russia is pushing through constitutional changes that subordinate international law to its own. The Economist, "Much ado about “such” The $50bn Yukos judgment against Russia turns on a single word," 20 Feb. 2020 Luckily, no other nation has enjoyed China’s level of success in subordinating the internet to the will of the state, because of both its head start and its massive scale of investment. Popular Science, "Here’s China’s massive plan to retool the web," 4 Oct. 2018 In truth, the United States has long used its diplomatic might to subordinate global public health to entrenched corporate interests. Eric Levitz, Daily Intelligencer, "It’s Normal for the U.S. to Put Corporate Profits Above Babies’ Health," 10 July 2018 However, cases such as yours with a manager-subordinate dynamic involve greater dangers for employees and organizations – culturally, legally, and even financially. Michael Smith, USA TODAY, "My co-worker’s affair is disrupting our workplace: Ask HR," 24 Mar. 2020 But inside JPMorgan and most other big corporations, market competition is subordinated to planning. Paul Adler, The Conversation, "Sanders called JPMorgan’s CEO America’s ‘biggest corporate socialist’ – here’s why he has a point," 6 Feb. 2020 In holding it back, Trump was subordinating that interest to something else — but not explaining his motives publicly or to Congress. NBC News, "At the heart of impeachment, a potential dagger for Trump's re-election," 1 Oct. 2019 Others subordinated the aesthetic dimension of art to one or another political program or social obsession. Roger Kimball, WSJ, "The National Gallery of Identity Politics," 18 Dec. 2018

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

Adjective

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Noun

1640, in the meaning defined above

Verb

1597, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for subordinate

Adjective and Noun

Middle English subordinat, from Medieval Latin subordinatus, past participle of subordinare to subordinate, from Latin sub- + ordinare to order — more at ordain

Verb

Medieval Latin subordinatus — see subordinate entry 1

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Time Traveler for subordinate

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for subordinate

Last Updated

15 Sep 2020

Cite this Entry

“Subordinate.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/subordinate. Accessed 20 Sep. 2020.

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More Definitions for subordinate

subordinate

adjective
How to pronounce subordinate (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of subordinate

 (Entry 1 of 3)

: in a position of less power or authority than someone else
: less important than someone or something else

subordinate

noun
How to pronounce subordinate (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of subordinate (Entry 2 of 3)

: someone who has less power or authority than someone else : someone who is subordinate to someone else

subordinate

verb
How to pronounce subordinate (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of subordinate (Entry 3 of 3)

formal : to think of or treat (someone or something) as less important than someone or something else

subordinate

adjective
sub·​or·​di·​nate | \ sə-ˈbȯr-də-nət How to pronounce subordinate (audio) \

Kids Definition of subordinate

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1 : being in a lower class or rank : inferior a subordinate officer
2 : yielding to or controlled by authority

subordinate

noun

Kids Definition of subordinate (Entry 2 of 3)

: someone who has less power or authority than someone else

subordinate

verb
sub·​or·​di·​nate | \ sə-ˈbȯr-də-ˌnāt How to pronounce subordinate (audio) \
subordinated; subordinating

Kids Definition of subordinate (Entry 3 of 3)

: to treat as inferior in rank or importance

subordinate

adjective
sub·​or·​di·​nate | \ sə-ˈbȯrd-ᵊn-ət How to pronounce subordinate (audio) \

Legal Definition of subordinate

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : placed in or occupying a lower rank, class, or position
2 : submissive to or controlled by authority

subordinate

transitive verb
sub·​or·​di·​nate | \ sə-ˈbȯrd-ᵊn-ˌāt How to pronounce subordinate (audio) \
subordinated; subordinating

Legal Definition of subordinate (Entry 2 of 2)

: to assign lower priority to (as a debt or creditor) : postpone satisfaction of until after satisfaction of another the equitable assignee will be subordinated to the rights of the assignor's trustee in bankruptcy— J. D. Calamari and J. M. Perillo

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Comments on subordinate

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