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

Keep scrolling for more

Did You Know?

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about subpar

Time Traveler for subpar

Time Traveler

The first known use of subpar was in 1922

See more words from the same year

Statistics for subpar

Cite this Entry

“Subpar.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 23 Oct. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for subpar


How to pronounce subpar (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of subpar

US : below a usual or normal level

More from Merriam-Webster on subpar

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for subpar

Comments on subpar

What made you want to look up subpar? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


Test Your Vocabulary

Namesakes Word Quiz

  • a citrus fruit possibly named after a person
  • Which of the following is a fruit named after a Moroccan seaport?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Dictionary Devil

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!