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

Three men, convicted members of a Bloods gang subset, are set to be sentenced Thursday in DeKalb County for their roles in the executions of two young women in 2014. Joshua Sharpe, ajc, "DeKalb Bloods face sentencing for murdering two women over insult," 11 June 2018 But that is just a subset of a broader truth: things almost never go according to plan. Katie Reilly, Time, "Rod Rosenstein Tells Law Graduates to Fall Back on ‘Your Own Moral Principles’ During Ethical Dilemmas," 11 May 2018 In contrast, regional Fed bank presidents are picked by subsets of those banks’ boards of directors, subject to approval by the Fed governors. Michael S. Derby, WSJ, "New York Fed Picks John Williams as President," 3 Apr. 2018 But at the three-day Boston Calling music festival recently, a significant subset of the mostly college-aged crowd was wearing classic Hawaiian shirts — splashy prints of hibiscus and palm trees, the louder the better. James Sullivan,, "Aloha to your father’s Hawaiian shirts," 28 June 2018 Currency strategies, a subset of CTA/Managed Futures, finished March at the bottom, plunging 6.33 percent. Adam Manzor,, "Hedge Funds Suffer First Back-to-Back Loss in Two Years," 19 Apr. 2018 And the Black Ops subset of the series has historically been a top seller. Chris Morris, Fortune, "Activision Skipped Trump's Video Game Summit and Started Marketing a New 'Call of Duty' Instead," 9 Mar. 2018 Kelly Cunningham, San Diego Institute for Economic Research NO: Refugee numbers, an important subset of immigration, are not large enough to majorly impact San Diego’s 3.3 million residents and 1.6 million labor force. Phillip Molnar,, "Will a slowdown in refugees hurt San Diego County’s economy?," 29 June 2018 But one small subset of them was able to attract new dollars: the cheapest ones. Stan Choe, USA TODAY, "Keeping what's yours: Managed fund investing has never been cheaper," 14 May 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

7 Nov 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).


to clear from alleged fault or guilt

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