sub·set | \ ˈsəb-ˌset \

Definition of subset 

1 : a set each of whose elements is an element of an inclusive set

2 : division, portion a subset of our community

Examples of subset in a Sentence

The set {1,2,3} is a subset of the set {1,2,3,4,5}. Only a small subset of the patients in the study experienced these side effects.

Recent Examples on the Web

The chancellor’s bruising argument and last-minute compromise with the CSU concerned policy measures that would in practice affect only a small subset of migrants. Valentina Pop, WSJ, "Europe’s Nativist Swing Casts Shadow Over Establishment," 5 July 2018 So why does a large subset of workers continue to feel left behind? Andrew Van Dam,, "Is it great to be a worker in the U.S.? Not compared with the rest of the developed world.," 5 July 2018 So why does a large subset of workers continue to feel left behind? Tory Newmyer, Washington Post, "The Finance 202: Republican candidates in key Senate races struggle with Trump tariffs," 5 July 2018 So why does a large subset of workers continue to feel left behind? Andrew Van Dam,, "Limited unionization and government aid hold back US workers, study says," 4 July 2018 Think of them as a kind of personalized subset of scene painting — a genre that records, revises, celebrates and promotes notable landscape views. Christopher Knight,, "Grafton Tyler Brown's California scenes at Pasadena museum's final show," 30 June 2018 The analysis, published Monday in Nature Medicine, found distinctive protein markers — a sort of genetic fingerprint — on this subset of memory T cells. Marie Mccullough,, "Penn study points to why T-cell therapy fails in some patients," 30 Apr. 2018 The margin of error was 4.6 points among the subset of 449 likely voters. Steve Thompson, Washington Post, "Poll: Hogan’s approval ratings sky-high; Democrats stronger among women, millenials," 24 Apr. 2018 Using lab tools to activate that reward circuit in mice, scientists discovered that its chemical signals reach the immune system, empowering a subset of bone marrow cells to slow the growth of tumors. Esther Landhuis, Scientific American, "Could Brain Stimulation Slow Cancer?," 13 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'subset.' 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 subset

1881, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Statistics for subset

Last Updated

12 Sep 2018

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Time Traveler for subset

The first known use of subset was in 1881

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More Definitions for subset



English Language Learners Definition of subset

: a group of things, people, etc., that is part of a larger group


sub·set | \ ˈsəb-ˌset \

Kids Definition of subset

: a small division or portion

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Comments on subset

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


occurring twice a year or every two years

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