What does subordinate mean?

Definitions for subordinate
səˈbɔr dn ɪt; -dnˌeɪtsub·or·di·nate

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

Princeton's WordNet

  1. subordinate, subsidiary, underling, foot soldiernoun

    an assistant subject to the authority or control of another

  2. hyponym, subordinate, subordinate wordadjective

    a word that is more specific than a given word

  3. subordinate, low-leveladjective

    lower in rank or importance

  4. subordinateadjective

    subject or submissive to authority or the control of another

    "a subordinate kingdom"

  5. dependent, subordinateverb

    (of a clause) unable to stand alone syntactically as a complete sentence

    "a subordinate (or dependent) clause functions as a noun or adjective or adverb within a sentence"

  6. subordinateverb

    rank or order as less important or consider of less value

    "Art is sometimes subordinated to Science in these schools"

  7. subordinate, subdueverb

    make subordinate, dependent, or subservient

    "Our wishes have to be subordinated to that of our ruler"

Samuel Johnson's Dictionary

  1. SUBORDINATEadjective

    Etymology: sub and ordinatus, Latin.

    It was subordinate, not enslaved to the understanding; not as a servant to a master, but as a queen to her king, who acknowledges a subjection, and yet retains a majesty. Robert South, Sermons.

    Whether dark presages of the night proceed from any latent power of the soul, during her abstraction, or from any operation of subordinate spirits, has been a dispute. Addison.

    The two armies were assigned to the leading of two generals, rather courtiers than martial men, yet assisted with subordinate commanders of great experience. Francis Bacon.

    His next subordinate
    Awak’ning, thus to him in secret spake. John Milton.

    These carry such plain characters of disagreement or affinity, that the several kinds and subordinate species of each are easily distinguished. John Woodward.

  2. To Subordinateverb

    To range under another. Not in use, but proper and elegant.

    Etymology: sub and ordino, Latin.

    If I have subordinated picture and sculpture to architecture as their mistress, so there are other inferior arts subordinate to them. Henry Wotton.


  1. subordinate

    A hierarchy (from Greek: ἱεραρχία, hierarkhia, 'rule of a high priest', from hierarkhes, 'president of sacred rites') is an arrangement of items (objects, names, values, categories, etc.) that are represented as being "above", "below", or "at the same level as" one another. Hierarchy is an important concept in a wide variety of fields, such as architecture, philosophy, design, mathematics, computer science, organizational theory, systems theory, systematic biology, and the social sciences (especially political philosophy). A hierarchy can link entities either directly or indirectly, and either vertically or diagonally. The only direct links in a hierarchy, insofar as they are hierarchical, are to one's immediate superior or to one of one's subordinates, although a system that is largely hierarchical can also incorporate alternative hierarchies. Hierarchical links can extend "vertically" upwards or downwards via multiple links in the same direction, following a path. All parts of the hierarchy that are not linked vertically to one another nevertheless can be "horizontally" linked through a path by traveling up the hierarchy to find a common direct or indirect superior, and then down again. This is akin to two co-workers or colleagues; each reports to a common superior, but they have the same relative amount of authority. Organizational forms exist that are both alternative and complementary to hierarchy. Heterarchy is one such form.


  1. subordinate

    Subordinate refers to a person or thing that is of lesser or secondary importance, rank, or function in comparison to another person or thing. It can also refer to being under the authority, guidance, or control of another within a hierarchy or organizational structure. In grammar, it refers to a clause in a sentence that relies on the main clause to provide complete meaning. Overall, it signifies a position or status that is lower than someone or something else.

Webster Dictionary

  1. Subordinateadjective

    placed in a lower order, class, or rank; holding a lower or inferior position

  2. Subordinateadjective

    inferior in order, nature, dignity, power, importance, or the like

  3. Subordinatenoun

    one who stands in order or rank below another; -- distinguished from a principal

  4. Subordinateverb

    to place in a lower order or class; to make or consider as of less value or importance; as, to subordinate one creature to another

  5. Subordinateverb

    to make subject; to subject or subdue; as, to subordinate the passions to reason

  6. Etymology: [Pref. sub + L. ordinatus, p. p. of ordinare to set in order, to arrange. See Ordain.]

Chambers 20th Century Dictionary

  1. Subordinate

    sub-or′di-nāt, adj. lower in order, rank, nature, power, &c.: descending in a regular series.—n. one in a lower order or rank: an inferior.—v.t. to place in a lower order: to consider of less value: to make subject.—ns. Subor′dinacy, Subor′dinance, the state of being subordinate.—adv. Subor′dinately.—ns. Subor′dinateness; Subordinā′tion, act of subordinating or placing in a lower order: state of being subordinate: inferiority of rank or position; Subordinā′tionism, the doctrine of the inferiority of the second and third Persons of the Trinity to the first.—adj. Subor′dinātive, tending to, or expressing, subordination. [L. sub, under, ordo, ordinis, order.]

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  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of subordinate in Chaldean Numerology is: 4

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of subordinate in Pythagorean Numerology is: 2

Examples of subordinate in a Sentence

  1. Donald Trump Trump:

    Otherwise, I wouldn't be where I am. If he didn't feel that women were as competent as men, I would be relegated to some role subordinate to my brothers, i think this is one of his great strengths: He fully prioritizes merit and accomplishment and skill and ability over background, education, and gender.

  2. Bob Wilson:

    I think it (ISIS) is going to expand beyond Libya where it can find subordinate elements to cooperate with.

  3. Johann Huizinga:

    Play is a uniquely adaptive act, not subordinate to some other adaptive act, but with a special function of its own in human experience.

  4. Howard Schultz:

    We are never going to allow any coffee company, domestically or around the world, to put us in a subordinate position in terms of quality and access to the highest grade arabica coffee.

  5. Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel:

    A single person, I need hardly say, is something subordinate, and as such he must dedicate himself to the ethical whole. Hence, if the State claims life, the individual must surrender it… All the worth which the human being possesses… he possesses only through the State.

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Translations for subordinate

From our Multilingual Translation Dictionary

  • المرؤوسArabic
  • podřídit, podřízenýCzech
  • underordnetDanish
  • unterordnen, untergeordnetGerman
  • υποτελής, εξαρτημένος, δευτερεύωνGreek
  • subordinadoSpanish
  • تابع, فرودست, زیردستPersian
  • alisteinen, alainen, väheksyä, alamainen, alistaaFinnish
  • subordonnées, subordonné, subordonnée, subordonnésFrench
  • fo-ordaigh, íochtaránach, fo-ordaitheIrish
  • alárendeltHungarian
  • ژێرده‌سته‌Kurdish
  • ondergeschiktDutch
  • podrzędnyPolish
  • subordinar, dominar, submeter, subordinada, sujeitar, subjugar, subordinadoPortuguese
  • subordonată, subordonatRomanian
  • подчинять, подчинённый, придаточныйRussian
  • zavisan, потчињен, potčinjeni, зависан, potčinjenSerbo-Croatian
  • underordna, underordnadSwedish
  • అధీనTelugu
  • ماتحتUrdu

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"subordinate." Definitions.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2023. Web. 21 Sep. 2023. <https://www.definitions.net/definition/subordinate>.

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    the trait of showing courage and determination in spite of possible loss or injury
    • A. secession
    • B. pluck
    • C. abandon
    • D. snap

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