sub·​ven·​tion səb-ˈven(t)-shən How to pronounce subvention (audio)
: the provision of assistance or financial support: such as
: a subsidy from a government or foundation
subventionary adjective

Did you know?

A subvention is a form of assistance, so it should come as no surprise to learn that the term "subvention" can be traced back to the Late Latin noun subventio, meaning "assistance." "Subventio" in turn derives from Latin subvenire, meaning "to come up or "to come to the rescue." (Another descendant of "subvenire" in English is the more common word souvenir.) "Subvention" also functions as a verb meaning "to provide with a subvention." The verb "subvention" is a very uncommon word, and it has an equally uncommon synonym, "subvent." The latter was likely coined by speakers unaware that the verb "subvention" already existed.

Example Sentences

the committee receives an annual subvention from the foundation to run the museum
Recent Examples on the Web The best-case scenario: the government can step in to bear some of the banks’ burden by introducing an interest subvention scheme (where the government bears some of the interest cost on loans). Joydeep Ghosh, Quartz India, 1 Oct. 2020 External factors like the ban on subvention schemes and poor market sentiments impacted housing sales in both cities, but MMR performed relatively better. Anuj Puri, Quartz India, 19 Dec. 2019 When paternal subventions were not forthcoming, Neruda hit on the idea of securing a diplomatic post abroad through Chile’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Benjamin Kunkel, The New Republic, 2 July 2018 Without subventions from Washington, Tesla’s market capitalization never would have even briefly exceeded GM’s. George Will, National Review, 11 Oct. 2017

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

Word History


Middle English subvencion, from Middle French & Late Latin; Middle French subvenciȯn, from Late Latin subvention-, subventio assistance, from Latin subvenire to come up, come to the rescue, from sub- up + venire to come — more at sub-, come

First Known Use

15th century, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of subvention was in the 15th century


Dictionary Entries Near subvention

Cite this Entry

“Subvention.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 1 Dec. 2022.

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