What does subject mean?

Definitions for subject
ˈsʌb dʒɪkt; səbˈdʒɛktsub·ject

This dictionary definitions page includes all the possible meanings, example usage and translations of the word subject.

Princeton's WordNet

  1. subject, topic, themenoun

    the subject matter of a conversation or discussion

    "he didn't want to discuss that subject"; "it was a very sensitive topic"; "his letters were always on the theme of love"

  2. subject, content, depicted objectnoun

    something (a person or object or scene) selected by an artist or photographer for graphic representation

    "a moving picture of a train is more dramatic than a still picture of the same subject"

  3. discipline, subject, subject area, subject field, field, field of study, study, bailiwicknoun

    a branch of knowledge

    "in what discipline is his doctorate?"; "teachers should be well trained in their subject"; "anthropology is the study of human beings"

  4. topic, subject, issue, matternoun

    some situation or event that is thought about

    "he kept drifting off the topic"; "he had been thinking about the subject for several years"; "it is a matter for the police"

  5. subjectnoun

    (grammar) one of the two main constituents of a sentence; the grammatical constituent about which something is predicated

  6. subject, case, guinea pignoun

    a person who is subjected to experimental or other observational procedures; someone who is an object of investigation

    "the subjects for this investigation were selected randomly"; "the cases that we studied were drawn from two different communities"

  7. national, subjectnoun

    a person who owes allegiance to that nation

    "a monarch has a duty to his subjects"

  8. subjectadjective

    (logic) the first term of a proposition

  9. capable, open, subjectadjective

    possibly accepting or permitting

    "a passage capable of misinterpretation"; "open to interpretation"; "an issue open to question"; "the time is fixed by the director and players and therefore subject to much variation"

  10. subject, dependentadjective

    being under the power or sovereignty of another or others

    "subject peoples"; "a dependent prince"

  11. subjectverb

    likely to be affected by something

    "the bond is subject to taxation"; "he is subject to fits of depression"

  12. subjectverb

    cause to experience or suffer or make liable or vulnerable to

    "He subjected me to his awful poetry"; "The sergeant subjected the new recruits to many drills"; "People in Chernobyl were subjected to radiation"

  13. subjectverb

    make accountable for

    "He did not want to subject himself to the judgments of his superiors"

  14. subjugate, subjectverb

    make subservient; force to submit or subdue

  15. submit, subjectverb

    refer for judgment or consideration

    "The lawyers submitted the material to the court"

Samuel Johnson's Dictionary

  1. Subjectadjective

    Etymology: subjectus, Latin.

    Th’ eastern tower,
    Whose height commands, as subject, all the vale
    To see the fight. William Shakespeare, Troilus and Cressida.

    Esau was never subject to Jacob, but founded a distinct people and government, and was himself prince over them. John Locke.

    Most subject is the fattest soil to weeds;
    And he the noble image of my youth
    Is overspread with them. William Shakespeare.

    All human things are subject to decay,
    And when fate summons, monarchs must obey. Dryden.

    I enter into the subject matter of my discourse. Dryden.

  2. Subjectnoun

    Etymology: sujet, French.

    Every subject’s duty is the king’s,
    But every subject’s soul is his own. William Shakespeare, Henry V.

    Never subject long’d to be a king,
    As I do long and wish to be a subject. William Shakespeare, Henry VI.

    The subject must obey his prince, because God commands it, human laws require it. Jonathan Swift.

    Those I call subjects which are governed by the ordinary laws and magistrates of the sovereign. Davies.

    Were subjects so but only by their choice,
    And not from birth did forc’d dominion take,
    Our prince alone would have the publick voice. Dryden.

    Now spurs the lated traveller apace,
    To gain the timely inn, and near approaches
    The subject of our watch. William Shakespeare, Macbeth.

    This subject for heroick song pleas’d me. John Milton.

    Here he would have us fix our thoughts; nor are they too dry a subject for our contemplation. Decay of Piety.

    I will not venture on so nice a subject with my severer style. More.

    Make choice of a subject beautiful and noble, which being capable of all the graces that colours, and elegance of design can give, shall afford a perfect art, an ample field of matter wherein to expatiate. Dryden.

    The subject of a proposition is that concerning which any thing is affirmed or denied. Isaac Watts, Logick.

    My real design is, that of publishing your praises to the world; not upon the subject of your noble birth. Jonathan Swift.

    Anger is certainly a kind of baseness, as it appears well in the weakness of those subjects in whom it reigns, children, women, old folks, sick folks. Francis Bacon.

  3. To SUBJECTverb

    Etymology: subjectus, Latin.

    The angel led them direct, and down the cliff as fast
    To the subjected plain. John Milton.

    The medal bears each form and name:
    In one short view, subjected to our eye,
    Gods, emp’rors, heroes, sages, beauties lie. Alexander Pope.

    Think not, young warriors, your diminish’d name
    Shall lose of lustre, by subjecting rage
    To the cool dictates of experienc’d age. Dryden.

    I live on bread like you, feel want like you,
    Taste grief, need friends, like you. subjected thus,
    How can you say to me, I am a king? William Shakespeare, Rich. II.

    I see thee, in that fatal hour,
    Subjected to the victor’s cruel pow’r,
    Led hence a slave. Dryden.

    The blind will always be led by those that see, or fall into the ditch: and he is the most subjected, the most enslaved, who is so in his understanding. John Locke.

    If the vessels yield, it subjects the person to all the inconveniences of an erroneous circulation. Arbuthnot.

    God is not bound to subject his ways of operation to the scrutiny of our thoughts, and confine himself to do nothing but what we must comprehend. John Locke.

    Subjected to his service angel-wings. John Milton.


  1. subject

    A subject generally refers to a person, object, concept, or topic that is being discussed, studied, or analyzed in a discourse, conversation, or any form of communication. It can also refer to the main theme or focus of a sentence, story, research, or any form of written or verbal expression.

Webster Dictionary

  1. Subjectadjective

    placed or situated under; lying below, or in a lower situation

  2. Subjectadjective

    placed under the power of another; specifically (International Law), owing allegiance to a particular sovereign or state; as, Jamaica is subject to Great Britain

  3. Subjectadjective

    exposed; liable; prone; disposed; as, a country subject to extreme heat; men subject to temptation

  4. Subjectadjective

    obedient; submissive

  5. Subjectadjective

    that which is placed under the authority, dominion, control, or influence of something else

  6. Subjectadjective

    specifically: One who is under the authority of a ruler and is governed by his laws; one who owes allegiance to a sovereign or a sovereign state; as, a subject of Queen Victoria; a British subject; a subject of the United States

  7. Subjectadjective

    that which is subjected, or submitted to, any physical operation or process; specifically (Anat.), a dead body used for the purpose of dissection

  8. Subjectadjective

    that which is brought under thought or examination; that which is taken up for discussion, or concerning which anything is said or done

  9. Subjectadjective

    the person who is treated of; the hero of a piece; the chief character

  10. Subjectadjective

    that of which anything is affirmed or predicated; the theme of a proposition or discourse; that which is spoken of; as, the nominative case is the subject of the verb

  11. Subjectadjective

    that in which any quality, attribute, or relation, whether spiritual or material, inheres, or to which any of these appertain; substance; substratum

  12. Subjectadjective

    hence, that substance or being which is conscious of its own operations; the mind; the thinking agent or principal; the ego. Cf. Object, n., 2

  13. Subjectnoun

    the principal theme, or leading thought or phrase, on which a composition or a movement is based

  14. Subjectnoun

    the incident, scene, figure, group, etc., which it is the aim of the artist to represent

  15. Subjectverb

    to bring under control, power, or dominion; to make subject; to subordinate; to subdue

  16. Subjectverb

    to expose; to make obnoxious or liable; as, credulity subjects a person to impositions

  17. Subjectverb

    to submit; to make accountable

  18. Subjectverb

    to make subservient

  19. Subjectverb

    to cause to undergo; as, to subject a substance to a white heat; to subject a person to a rigid test

  20. Etymology: [From L. subjectus, through an old form of F. sujet. See Subject, a.]


  1. Subject

    The subject is, according to a tradition that can be traced back to Aristotle, one of the two main constituents of a clause, the other constituent being the predicate, whereby the predicate says something about the subject. According to a tradition associated with predicate logic and dependency grammars, the subject is the most prominent overt argument of the predicate. By this position all languages with arguments have subjects, though there is no way to define this consistently for all languages. From a functional perspective, a subject is a phrase that conflates nominative case with the topic. Many languages do not do this, and so do not have subjects. All of these positions see the subject in English determining person and number agreement on the finite verb, as exemplified by the difference in verb forms between he eats and they eat. The stereotypical subject immediately precedes the finite verb in declarative sentences in English and represents an agent or a theme. The subject is often a multi-word constituent and should be distinguished from parts of speech, which, roughly, classify words within constituents.

Chambers 20th Century Dictionary

  1. Subject

    sub′jekt, adj. under the power of another: liable, prone, disposed: exposed: subordinate, tributary: subservient.—n. one under the power of another: one under allegiance to a sovereign: that on which any operation is performed: that which is treated or handled: (anat.) a dead body for dissection: a person supposed to be peculiarly sensitive to hypnotic influence: that which it is the object of the artist to express, the scheme or idea of a work of art: a picture representing action and incident: that of which anything is said or of which a discourse treats, bringing many things under a common head: the mind, regarded as the thinking power, in contrast with the object, that about which it thinks: topic: matter, materials: the general plan of any work of art.—v.t. Subject′, to throw or bring under: to bring under the power of: to make subordinate or subservient: to subdue: to enslave: to expose or make liable to: to cause to undergo.—n. Subjec′tion, the act of subjecting or subduing: the state of being subject to another.—adj. Subject′ive, relating to the subject: derived from one's own consciousness: denoting those states of thought or feeling of which the mind is the conscious subject—opp. to Objective.—adv. Subject′ively.—n. Subject′iveness.—v.t. Subject′ivise.—ns. Subject′ivism, a philosophical doctrine which refers all knowledge to, and founds it upon, subjective states; Subject′ivist, one who holds to subjectivism.—adj. Subjectivist′ic.—adv. Subjectivist′ically.—ns. Subjectiv′ity, state of being subjective: that which is treated subjectively; Sub′ject-matter, a tautological compound for subject, theme, topic; Sub′ject-ob′ject, the immediate object of cognition, or the thought itself; Sub′jectship, the state of being subject. [Fr. sujet—L. subjectussub, under, jacĕre, to throw.]

Editors Contribution

  1. subject

    A defined or specific type of education or knowledge.

    The subject was geography and we are delighted to know what we do.

    Submitted by MaryC on February 23, 2020  

Surnames Frequency by Census Records


    According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Subject is ranked #116201 in terms of the most common surnames in America.

    The Subject surname appeared 150 times in the 2010 census and if you were to sample 100,000 people in the United States, approximately 0 would have the surname Subject.

    72.6% or 109 total occurrences were White.
    14.6% or 22 total occurrences were Black.
    4.6% or 7 total occurrences were of Hispanic origin.
    4% or 6 total occurrences were Asian.
    4% or 6 total occurrences were of two or more races.

British National Corpus

  1. Spoken Corpus Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'subject' in Spoken Corpus Frequency: #507

  2. Written Corpus Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'subject' in Written Corpus Frequency: #1114

  3. Nouns Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'subject' in Nouns Frequency: #113

  4. Verbs Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'subject' in Verbs Frequency: #851

How to pronounce subject?

How to say subject in sign language?


  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of subject in Chaldean Numerology is: 6

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of subject in Pythagorean Numerology is: 8

Examples of subject in a Sentence

  1. Benjamin Disraeli:

    The best way to become acquainted with a subject is to write a book about it.

  2. John Kerry:

    We are satisfied that we will be able to have a process which can get us the answers, if they are not accountable in the way that we expect them to be with appropriate access then they would be in material breach of the agreement and subject to any and all options available to the United States.

  3. The UK government:

    [ The plan ] will be central to weaning Britain off expensive fossil fuels, which are subject to volatile gas prices set by international markets we are unable to control.

  4. Harry Kazianis:

    We would need to work on getting overall costs down to make such drugs or Americans would need to be willing to pay more, i believe they would if they knew that China could stop their medications from being produced at a moments notice that is worth paying an extra cost as we know that if drugs are made at home, they would not be subject to the whims of a dictatorship that has millions of people in concentration camps due to their religious beliefs.

  5. Mohammad Al Sabban:

    There will be no change in (Saudi) oil policy at all. The policy is not subject to change at every cabinet reshuffle.

Popularity rank by frequency of use


Translations for subject

From our Multilingual Translation Dictionary

  • رعية, فَاعِل, مَوْضُوع, دورةArabic
  • фәнBashkir
  • дзе́йнікBelarusian
  • подло́г, поданикBulgarian
  • súbdit, matèria, subjecte, sotmetreCatalan, Valencian
  • poddaný, podmět, předmětCzech
  • subjekt, fag, emne, grundled, tema, borger, udsætteDanish
  • Fach, Lehrfach, Gegenstand, Untertan, Betreff, Sache, Untertanin, Sujet, Schulfach, Subjekt, Unterrichtsfach, Studienfach, Thema, unterwerfenGerman
  • αντικείμενο, υποτελής, προκείμενο, υποκείμενο, θέμα, υπήκοος, υπεξούσιος, υποκείμενος, υποβάλλωGreek
  • studobjekto, subulo, subjekto, lernobjekto, temoEsperanto
  • tema, curso, ramo, materia, súbdito, sujeto, asignatura, someterSpanish
  • teema, aine, alam, alusEstonian
  • موضوع, سوژهPersian
  • aihe, aihealue, alamainen, subjekti, teema, aine, ala, pakottaa, painostaa, alistaaFinnish
  • discipline, matière, sujet, soumettreFrench
  • cuir, cuir duine faoi phróiseasIrish
  • cùisear, cuspairScottish Gaelic
  • suxeito, materia, someterGalician
  • נוֹשֵׂא, נתיןHebrew
  • téma, alany, tárgy, alattvalóHungarian
  • ենթակաArmenian
  • themaInterlingua
  • subyekIndonesian
  • yrkisefni, grein, efni, viðfangsefni, þegn, umræðuefni, námsgrein, frumlag, umtalsefni, fag, ná, valdi, yfirIcelandic
  • sottomesso, soggetto, disciplina, assoggettato, corso, materia, suddito, sottomettere, assoggettareItalian
  • 科目, 学科, 主語, 主題Japanese
  • ប្រជានុរាស្ត្រ, ប្រធានវិស័យ, ប្រធានKhmer
  • 신하, 백성, 주어, 주제, 학과, 과목Korean
  • بابه‌ت, باره‌Kurdish
  • tāhuhu, tāhūMāori
  • те́ма, пре́дмет, поданик, по́дмет, предмет, изложува, подложуваMacedonian
  • onderdaan, onderwerp, vak, onderdane, vakgebied, onderwerpenDutch
  • podmiot, poddany, poddana, przedmiot, tematPolish
  • sujeito, matéria, súdito, disciplina, submeterPortuguese
  • temaRomansh
  • subiect, materie, temă, disciplinăRomanian
  • по́дданный, предме́т, те́ма, подлежа́щее, субъе́кт, подве́ргнуть, подве́рженный, подверга́тьRussian
  • विषयSanskrit
  • пре́дмет, sùbjekt, prédmet, pódmet, по́дмет, су̀бјектSerbo-Croatian
  • podmetSlovak
  • osebekSlovene
  • subjekt, ämne, föremål, utsättaSwedish
  • somo, raiaSwahili
  • పాఠ్యాంశము, కర్త, విషయముTelugu
  • konu, ders, dal, özne, alanTurkish
  • пі́дметUkrainian
  • ﺭﻋﺎﻳﺎUrdu
  • chủ đề, chủ ngữVietnamese
  • reigäb, yegäd, jireigäb, hireigäb, subyetVolapük
  • inhloko, isifundo, umenzi, isihlokoZulu

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    the transportation of people (as a family or colony) to a new settlement (as after an upheaval of some kind)
    A relocation
    B rapture
    C model
    D integrity

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