sub·​rou·​tine ˈsəb-(ˌ)rü-ˌtēn How to pronounce subroutine (audio)
: a subordinate routine
specifically : a sequence of computer instructions for performing a specified task that can be used repeatedly

Examples of subroutine in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The final subroutine handles transmitting update to the display via the TCA9548A I2C expander chip. IEEE Spectrum, 30 Jan. 2024 The primary function of the main loop is to call the subroutine that reads the rotary encoder. IEEE Spectrum, 30 Jan. 2024 The encoder subroutine tries to eliminate switch bounce and is also easily modifiable. IEEE Spectrum, 30 Jan. 2024 In computer programming, a subroutine call is a piece of code—a kind of shorthand—that tells a machine to initiate a whole suite of lower-level mechanical actions. Rowan Jacobsen, Scientific American, 21 Sep. 2020 The 68000 instruction set allowed Mr. Smith to embed subroutines in ROM. IEEE Spectrum, 2 July 2023 Consider this example of a subroutine. Andrew Hudson, Ars Technica, 14 Mar. 2022 For non-sentient AI, this might be a computational subroutine built into the AI by the human developers of the AI. Lance Eliot, Forbes, 5 May 2022 The Split-or-Johnson procedure contained a recursive step, in which a certain subroutine split the problem into two smaller pieces and then called itself to run again on the smaller pieces. Quanta Magazine, 14 Jan. 2017

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'subroutine.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


International Scientific Vocabulary

First Known Use

circa 1946, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of subroutine was circa 1946

Dictionary Entries Near subroutine

Cite this Entry

“Subroutine.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 18 May. 2024.

Kids Definition


sub·​rou·​tine ˌsəb-(ˌ)rü-ˈtēn How to pronounce subroutine (audio)
: a sequence of computer instructions for performing a specified task that can be used repeatedly
Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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