sub·​or·​di·​na·​tion sə-ˌbȯr-də-ˈnā-shən How to pronounce subordination (audio)
: placement in a lower class, rank, or position : the act or process of subordinating someone or something or the state of being subordinated
As a prescriptive text, moreover, the Bible has been interpreted as justifying the subordination of women to men.Cullen Murphy
The price is individual subordination to the group and limited autonomy of the nuclear family.Corinne N. Nydegger
After 1688, as before, the message was one of subordination to divinely constituted authority, whether of kings or of one's social superiors.Richard W. Davis

Examples of subordination in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web To be sure, vassalage to China will not necessarily constitute full and unconditional subordination. Alexander Gabuev, Foreign Affairs, 9 Apr. 2024 There is no history of racial subordination associated with Black people. Nikole Hannah-Jones, New York Times, 13 Mar. 2024 Women were defined in terms of their full subordination to men and in regards to their role in the family and in motherhood. Julia Khrebtan-Hörhager, The Conversation, 7 Mar. 2024 But Modi’s subordination of institutions has gone even further. Ramachandra Guha, Foreign Affairs, 20 Feb. 2024 If the rift over transgender rights ends up undermining the authority and credibility of Scotland’s Parliament, underscoring its subordination to Westminster, that could deal a blow to those who want to stick with the status quo rather than take the further step to independence. Stephen Castle, New York Times, 27 Jan. 2023 And DuVernay’s screenplay limply addresses key criticisms of Wilkerson’s book, namely how nuance is lost when comparing Jewish extermination, Black enslavement and Dalit subordination in broad strokes. Lovia Gyarkye, The Hollywood Reporter, 6 Sep. 2023 Major scholars continue to talk about slavery as the original sin of America, as the foundational American institution, as the exclusive form of racial discrimination or subordination — leaving aside the fact that hundreds of thousands of American Indians were enslaved throughout the colonial era. Sophia Nguyen, Washington Post, 16 June 2023 At a time when most German rulers demanded complete subordination from their subjects, Fichte gave the self the most exciting of all powers: free will. Andrea Wulf, The Atlantic, 11 Sep. 2022

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'subordination.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1595, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of subordination was in 1595

Dictionary Entries Near subordination

Cite this Entry

“Subordination.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Apr. 2024.

Legal Definition


sub·​or·​di·​na·​tion sə-ˌbȯrd-ᵊn-ˈā-shən How to pronounce subordination (audio)
: an act or instance of subordinating
also : the remedy of subordinating a claim see also equitable subordination

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