sub·​sume səb-ˈsüm How to pronounce subsume (audio)
subsumed; subsuming

transitive verb

: to include or place within something larger or more comprehensive : encompass as a subordinate or component element
red, green, and yellow are subsumed under the term "color"
subsumable adjective

Examples of subsume in a Sentence

games and team sports are subsumed under the classification of “recreation”
Recent Examples on the Web And a case could be made that Ohio subsumed many of the elements of the American polity: farmland and industrial cities, college towns and factory towns, sprawling suburbia and a swath of rural southeastern counties in many ways akin to neighboring West Virginia. Ron Elving, NPR, 23 Mar. 2024 Critics of the agency had long argued that the work of the agency should be subsumed under the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), a separate U.N. body that focuses on resettling refugees who cannot return home. Adam Taylor, Washington Post, 1 Feb. 2024 By her early 20s, mathematics had subsumed everything else. Quanta Magazine, 13 Mar. 2024 Before long, he’s subsumed by a swarm of bucking bodies, and chaos prevails. Becca Rothfeld, The New Yorker, 17 Feb. 2024 The Omega Workshop didn’t identify individual textile or other designs by the artist’s name, preferring instead to subsume the work into the larger cultural ethos of the early modern era. Christopher Knight, Los Angeles Times, 22 Dec. 2023 Eli and Shilo, which each has nearly five thousand residents, subsumed three of Qaryut’s five springs. Shane Bauer, The New Yorker, 26 Feb. 2024 Engaging the fine motor system to produce letters by hand has positive effects on learning and memory By Charlotte Hu Handwriting notes in class might seem like an anachronism as smartphones and other digital technology subsume every aspect of learning across schools and universities. Charlotte Hu, Scientific American, 21 Feb. 2024 Their individual preferences are forcibly subsumed within those of the collective. Wanjiru Njoya, Orange County Register, 13 Feb. 2024

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

Word History


New Latin subsumere, from Latin sub- + sumere to take up — more at consume

First Known Use

1818, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of subsume was in 1818

Dictionary Entries Near subsume

Cite this Entry

“Subsume.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 14 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition


sub·​sume səb-ˈsüm How to pronounce subsume (audio)
subsumed; subsuming
: to include or place within something larger or more general
red and green are subsumed under the term "color"

More from Merriam-Webster on subsume

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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