sub·​par | \ ˈsəb-ˌpär How to pronounce subpar (audio) \
variants: or less commonly sub-par

Definition of subpar

chiefly US
: below par: such as
a : below a usual or normal level or standard subpar attendance a subpar performance Why would a major football school fire a successful coach following a single subpar season?— Jerry Kirshenbaum Because of phylloxera, vineyards have been inconsistent and yielding subpar grapes.— James Laube
b golf : having a score lower than par His 19 birdies and two eagles gave him more subpar holes than anyone …— David Barrett … Augusta National never played easier. … Saturday's 30 subpar rounds broke a third-round tournament record …— John Garrity

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Since sub- means "below", almost anything that fails to measure up to a traditional standard may be called subpar. So you may hear of subpar ratings for a TV show, subpar care at a nursing home, subpar attendance at a concert, or subpar work by a contractor. If you played a subpar round of golf, though, you needed more strokes than you should have.

First Known Use of subpar

1922, in the meaning defined above

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Cite this Entry

“Subpar.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 19 Oct. 2021.

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More Definitions for subpar



English Language Learners Definition of subpar

: below a usual or normal level


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