subpoena

noun
sub·​poe·​na | \ sə-ˈpē-nə How to pronounce subpoena (audio) , nonstandard -nē How to pronounce subpoena (audio) \

Definition of subpoena

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a writ commanding a person designated in it to appear in court under a penalty for failure

subpoena

verb
subpoenaed; subpoenaing

Definition of subpoena (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

: to serve or summon with a writ of subpoena

Synonyms for subpoena

Synonyms: Noun

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The Origin of Subpoena

Noun

If you think you recognize the sub- in subpoena as the prefix meaning "under, beneath, below," you're on target. Subpoena arrived in Modern English (via the Middle English suppena) from the Latin sub poena, a combination of sub and poena, meaning "penalty." Other poena descendants in English include impunity ("freedom from penalty"), penal ("of or relating to punishment"), and even punish. There is also the verb subpoena, as in "Defense lawyers have subpoenaed several witnesses to the crime."

Examples of subpoena in a Sentence

Noun received a subpoena to appear as a witness for the prosecution Verb He was subpoenaed to testify in a hearing. The prosecutor subpoenaed the defendant's financial records.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The full House of Representatives voted this month to hold Meadows in contempt of Congress for refusing to comply with a subpoena as well. CBS News, 29 Dec. 2021 The lawmaker most recently brought those claims up again during an October hearing on a motion to hold former White House chief strategist Stephen K. Bannon in contempt for refusing to comply with a congressional subpoena. Farnoush Amiri And Mary Clare Jalonick, Anchorage Daily News, 22 Dec. 2021 The committee voted earlier this month to hold Clark, a former aide to Trump, in contempt for refusing to comply with a subpoena to testify. Chelsey Cox, USA TODAY, 20 Dec. 2021 That grand jury issued the criminal indictment on Steve Bannon's refusal to comply with a congressional subpoena. ABC News, 19 Dec. 2021 Meadows’ attorney, George Terwilliger III, has asserted that the former White House advisor cannot comply with the subpoena for two major reasons. Los Angeles Times, 14 Dec. 2021 Clark himself has been a target of the select committee's investigation and received a subpoena from the panel for records and testimony in September. Melissa Quinn, CBS News, 21 Dec. 2021 Its manager is the entity that received a subpoena in addition to 1K1V. Mark Maremont, WSJ, 12 Dec. 2021 Former City Treasurer Mary Lewis also received a subpoena, court records show. Jeff Mcdonald, San Diego Union-Tribune, 23 Nov. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Another motion was made to subpoena documents from the same departments with the addition of the Hyde County state's attorney's office. Kelly Mena, CNN, 30 Dec. 2021 Bren — through her lawyer — actually suggested that lawmakers subpoena her because she is barred from disparaging state officials as part of a settlement. Stephen Groves, ajc, 12 Dec. 2021 The announcement came on the day that it became known that Ms. James’s office intended to subpoena former President Donald J. Trump to testify in a civil fraud investigation. New York Times, 9 Dec. 2021 The bill would give the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency the authority to subpoena entities that fail to report cybersecurity incidents or ransomware payments. Geneva Sands, CNN, 28 Sep. 2021 In principle, the Select Committee possesses the authority to subpoena legislators’ telephone records. The Insider, Forbes, 13 Sep. 2021 Among the reforms was the creation of a new office of Inspector General with the authority to subpoena witnesses and records during investigations of fatal use of force events involving police and correctional officers. Edmund H. Mahony, courant.com, 17 May 2021 Attorneys for the Heritage Foundation and Heritage Action for America filed a response Thursday that pushed back against attempts by opponents of the law to subpoena documents that would show communications with state officials, including lawmakers. Jim Saunders, orlandosentinel.com, 8 Oct. 2021 Unlike the independent Office of Congressional Ethics, that 10-member panel is empowered to subpoena and sanction House members. Zach Everson, Forbes, 21 Oct. 2021

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

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First Known Use of subpoena

Noun

15th century, in the meaning defined above

Verb

1640, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for subpoena

Noun

Middle English suppena, from Latin sub poena under penalty

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Time Traveler for subpoena

Time Traveler

The first known use of subpoena was in the 15th century

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Dictionary Entries Near subpoena

subplow

subpoena

subpoena ad testificandum

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Statistics for subpoena

Last Updated

5 Jan 2022

Cite this Entry

“Subpoena.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/subpoena. Accessed 16 Jan. 2022.

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More Definitions for subpoena

subpoena

noun

English Language Learners Definition of subpoena

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a written order that commands someone to appear in court to give evidence

subpoena

verb

English Language Learners Definition of subpoena (Entry 2 of 2)

: to order someone to appear in court to give evidence : to issue a subpoena to (someone) or for (something)

subpoena

noun
sub·​poe·​na
variants: also subpena \ sə-​ˈpē-​nə \

Legal Definition of subpoena

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a writ commanding a designated person upon whom it has been served to appear (as in court or before a congressional committee) under a penalty (as a charge of contempt) for failure to comply — compare summons

subpoena

transitive verb
variants: also subpena
subpoenaed; subpoenaing

Legal Definition of subpoena (Entry 2 of 2)

: to call before a court or hearing by a subpoena the inspector is given the power to subpoena any relevant…witnessesHarvard Law Review also : to command the production of (evidence) by a subpoena duces tecum subpoenaed documents

History and Etymology for subpoena

Noun

Latin sub poena under penalty

More from Merriam-Webster on subpoena

Nglish: Translation of subpoena for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of subpoena for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about subpoena

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