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 subordinate (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 Followers take on a subordinate role with little sense of ownership. Dr. Richard Osibanjo, Forbes, 24 June 2021 In the ruling, the court says that Congress gets to determine who is a citizen and courts play a subordinate role in that process. The Salt Lake Tribune, 17 June 2021 Although the act made the CFPB a subordinate bureau of the Fed, the Fed was explicitly prohibited from interfering with its funding or operations. Peter J. Wallison, National Review, 29 Mar. 2021 But Judge Angela McCormick Bisig ruled Wednesday the two roles were not incompatible and the TARC general counsel position is not subordinate to the Metro Council. Mary Ramsey, The Courier-Journal, 13 Aug. 2021 As two subordinate officers were taking him out of the 96th Street Station, the man yelled anti-Asian slurs at Wong and kicked him in the leg, prosecutors said. NBC News, 23 July 2021 The statement contradicted a 2019 resolution affirming the framework as an interpretive tool subordinate to the Bible, and upset many Black members of the SBC, some of whom departed shortly after. Noah Robertson, The Christian Science Monitor, 14 June 2021 The commission finds fault with TU Dresden and GWT for not sufficiently protecting the whistleblowers, who remained subordinate to Wittchen during the investigation. Hristio Boytchev, Science | AAAS, 8 Apr. 2021 As other historians have pointed out, the idea that women should be subordinate to men has deep roots in the Christian tradition. Eliza Griswold, The New Yorker, 25 July 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Rosen learned after the fact that Clark, his subordinate, had met with Trump at the White House to discuss pursuing claims of voter fraud. BostonGlobe.com, 12 Aug. 2021 At Ubisoft, an executive who allegedly choked a female subordinate was married to the interim head of HR at the time. Cecilia D'anastasio, Wired, 23 July 2021 Less than two years later, Swan became Intel’s interim CEO when the company pushed out Brian Krzanich after the board uncovered a past romantic relationship with a subordinate in violation of company policy. oregonlive, 19 July 2021 The word choice is revealing because the phrase is often used to describe a subordinate’s betrayal of a superior. New York Times, 19 July 2021 When China’s ambassador to Ghana arrived back at his post in 1972, one of the cadres who had attacked him in Beijing was sent to work as his subordinate. Peter C. Martin, The Atlantic, 19 June 2021 But for a subordinate who’s every bit as driven, the Pragmatist offers an unparalleled opportunity for growth and achievement. Mark Murphy, Forbes, 30 May 2021 Still, in the deliberations, department officials also focused on the lack of historical precedent for prosecuting a current or former president for firing a subordinate, the two people said. Charlie Savage, New York Times, 25 May 2021 The Beau Rivage documents relate to a felony charge of soliciting a thing of value from a subordinate. al, 6 Apr. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Feminists can be depicted as jealous man haters who want to subordinate men. Joy Burnford, Forbes, 26 May 2021 In searching for the next artistic director, the board needs to subordinate MBA logic. Los Angeles Times, 10 June 2021 More important, this coalition would likely pass a law—which most rightists want, in any case—that would subordinate the Supreme Court’s right to review the constitutionality of laws to a simple majority vote in the Knesset. Bernard Avishai, The New Yorker, 20 Apr. 2021 Among these players are the approximately 96% who will not go pro, and for whom a college athletic scholarship, where they are expected to subordinate education to athletic performance, is more akin to peonage. Time, 30 Mar. 2021 But there’s an alternative, one that does not subordinate basic Christian beliefs to a political ideology or a polarizing leader. Michael T. Nietzel, Forbes, 1 Mar. 2021 Several other contributors employ pastel or even bright colors but subordinate them to aggressive black gestures. Washington Post, 15 Jan. 2021 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, 18 June 2020 Russia is pushing through constitutional changes that subordinate international law to its own. The Economist, 20 Feb. 2020

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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Dictionary Entries Near subordinate

subordinary

subordinate

subordinate clause

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Statistics for subordinate

Last Updated

16 Sep 2021

Cite this Entry

“Subordinate.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/subordinate. Accessed 21 Sep. 2021.

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More Definitions for subordinate

subordinate

adjective

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

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

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

: 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

More from Merriam-Webster on subordinate

Nglish: Translation of subordinate for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of subordinate for Arabic Speakers

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