sub·​set | \ ˈsəb-ˌset How to pronounce subset (audio) \

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

That, in fact, is what makes the current roster so intriguing, that no matter what happens with the veteran core (or if other veterans are brought in), there is a subset on the roster being developed below the surface, that could yet emerge. Ira Winderman,, "ASK IRA: Is One Last Dance 2.0 on the way?," 10 Aug. 2019 Among fandom Twitter and ship Twitter, there's an entire subset of Stranger Things Twitter that really hates Dustin's girlfriend Suzie. Kelsey Stiegman, Seventeen, "Fans Think That Hopper Would Still Be Alive if Suzie Hadn't Made Dustin Sing "NeverEnding Story" in "Stranger Things"," 6 Aug. 2019 Kleiman’s work on drug policy was a subset of his work on criminal justice. Los Angeles Times, "Column: Farewell to Mark Kleiman, one of America’s great sages in public affairs," 29 July 2019 Pointer found that the colors humans actually encounter in nature are in fact a subset of the colors that eyes and brains can handle. Adam Rogers, WIRED, "The Colorful Science of Why Fireworks Look Bad on TV," 4 July 2019 But what the Fourth Circuit said is that distributor liability is basically a subset of publisher liability. Adi Robertson, The Verge, "Why the internet’s most important law exists and how people are still getting it wrong," 21 June 2019 An especially powerful subset of supernovae, known as gamma ray bursts, are thought to be more important for destroying life in the universe, though these events are much rarer. Adam Mann, Science | AAAS, "Dark energy’s weakness may be why supernovae didn’t kill us all," 4 May 2018 And consideration of the party without Trump means considering an isolated subset that may be overrepresented on Capitol Hill but which is underrepresented in any struggle for power within the Republican ranks. Philip Bump, Washington Post, "Trump is the Republican Party, and the party is Trump," 7 Feb. 2018 Prosecutors allege that all of the accused are members of a violent subset of MS-13 that killed seven people — including Brayan — over a span of more than two years. Howard Blume, Los Angeles Times, "MS-13 gang created beachhead at Valley high school, but authorities insisted on secrecy," 27 July 2019

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

15 Aug 2019

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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

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


sub·​set | \ ˈsəb-ˌset How to pronounce subset (audio) \

Kids Definition of subset

: a small division or portion

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More from Merriam-Webster on subset

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with subset

Nglish: Translation of subset for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of subset for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about subset

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).


not constant or steady

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