Definition of suborn
1 : to induce secretly to do an unlawful thing
2 : to induce to commit perjury; also : to obtain (perjured testimony) from a witness
subornationplay \ˌsə-ˌbȯr-ˈnā-shən\ noun
suborn was our Word of the Day on 01/12/2010. Hear the podcast!
Examples of suborn in a Sentence
He's accused of suborning a witness.
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.
SUBORN Defined for English Language Learners
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
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
Origin and Etymology of suborn
Latin subornare, from sub- secretly + ornare to prepare, equip
Learn More about suborn
Seen and Heard
What made you want to look up suborn? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).