suborn

verb sub·orn \ sə-ˈbȯrn \
Updated on: 12 Nov 2017

Definition of suborn

transitive verb
1 : to induce secretly to do an unlawful thing
2 : to induce to commit perjury; also : to obtain (perjured testimony) from a witness

subornation

play \ˌsə-ˌbȯr-ˈnā-shən\ noun

suborner

noun

suborn was our Word of the Day on 01/12/2010. Hear the podcast!

Examples of suborn in a Sentence

  1. He's accused of suborning a witness.

Recent Examples of suborn from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'suborn.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Did You Know?

The Latin word that gave us suborn in the early part of the 16th century is subornare, which translates literally as "to secretly furnish or equip." The sub- that brings the "secretly" meaning to subornare more commonly means "under" or "below," but it has its stealthy denotation in the etymologies of several other English words, including surreptitious (from sub- and rapere, meaning "to seize") and the verb suspect (from sub- or sus- and specere, meaning "to look at"). The ornare of subornare is also at work in the words ornate, adorn, and ornament.

Origin and Etymology of suborn

Middle French suborner, from Latin subornare, from sub- secretly + ornare to furnish, equip — more at ornate


SUBORN Defined for English Language Learners

suborn

verb

Definition of suborn for English Language Learners

  • : to persuade (someone) to do something illegal (such as to lie in a court of law)

  • : to get (false testimony) from a witness


Law Dictionary

suborn

transitive verb sub·orn \ sə-ˈbȯrn \

legal Definition of suborn

1 : to induce or procure to commit an unlawful act and especially perjury
  • an attempt to suborn a witness
2 : to induce (perjury) or obtain (perjured testimony) from a witness
  • an attorney and his client were jointly charged with suborning perjury and perjury, respectively
  • —W. R. LaFave and J. H. Israel

suborner

noun

Origin and Etymology of suborn

Latin subornare, from sub- secretly + ornare to prepare, equip


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