sub·​sid·​i·​ar·​i·​ty | \ ˌsəb-si-dē-ˈer-ə-tē How to pronounce subsidiarity (audio) , səb-ˌsi- \

Definition of subsidiarity

1 : the quality or state of being subsidiary
2 : a principle in social organization holding that functions which are performed effectively by subordinate or local organizations belong more properly to them than to a dominant central organization Subsidiarity, an element of Catholic social doctrine, holds that what can be done at a lower level in a social system shouldn't be done at a higher one.— Russell Shaw Subsidiarity, in [Wilhelm] Röpke's understanding, refers to the absolute right of local communities to take decisions for themselves, including the decision to surrender the matter to a larger forum. Subsidiarity places an absolute brake upon centralizing powers by permitting their involvement only when requested.— Roger Scruton

Examples of subsidiarity in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web In a world where the slightest enthusiasm or complaint can penetrate Congress and cause a stir, expounding the principles of limited government and subsidiarity is more urgent than ever. Christopher Demuth Sr., National Review, "Repairing Our Fractured Politics," 11 Jan. 2018

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

First Known Use of subsidiarity

1936, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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The first known use of subsidiarity was in 1936

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Cite this Entry

“Subsidiarity.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 21 Sep. 2020.

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