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[noun, adjective suhb-jikt; verb suh b-jekt] /noun, adjective ˈsʌb dʒɪkt; verb səbˈdʒɛkt/
that which forms a basic matter of thought, discussion, investigation, etc.:
a subject of conversation.
a branch of knowledge as a course of study:
He studied four subjects in his first year at college.
a motive, cause, or ground:
a subject for complaint.
the theme of a sermon, book, story, etc.
the principal melodic motif or phrase in a musical composition, especially in a fugue.
an object, scene, incident, etc., chosen by an artist for representation, or as represented in art.
a person who is under the dominion or rule of a sovereign.
a person who owes allegiance to a government and lives under its protection:
four subjects of Sweden.
Grammar. (in English and many other languages) a syntactic unit that functions as one of the two main constituents of a simple sentence, the other being the predicate, and that consists of a noun, noun phrase, or noun substitute which often refers to the one performing the action or being in the state expressed by the predicate, as He in He gave notice.
a person or thing that undergoes or may undergo some action:
As a dissenter, he found himself the subject of the group's animosity.
a person or thing under the control or influence of another.
a person as an object of medical, surgical, or psychological treatment or experiment.
a cadaver used for dissection.
Logic. that term of a proposition concerning which the predicate is affirmed or denied.
  1. that which thinks, feels, perceives, intends, etc., as contrasted with the objects of thought, feeling, etc.
  2. the self or ego.
Metaphysics. that in which qualities or attributes inhere; substance.
being under domination, control, or influence (often followed by to).
being under dominion, rule, or authority, as of a sovereign, state, or some governing power; owing allegiance or obedience (often followed by to).
open or exposed (usually followed by to):
subject to ridicule.
being dependent or conditional upon something (usually followed by to):
His consent is subject to your approval.
being under the necessity of undergoing something (usually followed by to):
All beings are subject to death.
liable; prone (usually followed by to):
subject to headaches.
verb (used with object)
to bring under domination, control, or influence (usually followed by to).
to bring under dominion, rule, or authority, as of a conqueror or a governing power (usually followed by to).
to cause to undergo the action of something specified; expose (usually followed by to):
to subject metal to intense heat.
to make liable or vulnerable; lay open; expose (usually followed by to):
to subject oneself to ridicule.
Obsolete. to place beneath something; make subjacent.
Origin of subject
1275-1325; (adj.) < Latin subjectus placed beneath, inferior, open to inspection, orig. past participle of subicere to throw or place beneath, make subject, equivalent to sub- sub- + -jec-, combining form of jacere to throw + -tus past participle suffix; replacing Middle English suget < Old French < Latin, as above; (noun) < Late Latin subjectum grammatical or dialectical subject, noun use of neuter of subjectus; replacing Middle English suget, as above; (v.) < Latin subjectāre, frequentative of subicere; replacing Middle English suget(t)en < Old French sugetter < Latin, as above
Related forms
subjectable, adjective
subjectability, noun
subjectedly, adverb
subjectedness, noun
subjectless, adjective
subjectlike, adjective
nonsubject, noun, adjective
nonsubjected, adjective
presubject, verb (used with object)
resubject, verb (used with object)
unsubject, adjective
unsubjected, adjective
1, 4. Subject, theme, topic are often interchangeable to express the material being considered in a speech or written composition. Subject is a broad word for whatever is treated in writing, speech, art, etc.: the subject for discussion. Theme and topic are usually narrower and apply to some limited or specific part of a general subject. A theme is often the underlying conception of a discourse or composition, perhaps not put into words but easily recognizable: The theme of a need for reform runs throughout her work. A topic is the statement of what is to be treated in a section of a composition: The topic is treated fully in this section. 3. reason, rationale. 17. subordinate, subservient. 20. contingent. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for subjected
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • The reader will readily imagine the discomforts to which I was subjected on this voyage.

    Captain Canot Brantz Mayer
  • But this only subjected me to reproach, as having a prepossession in his favour which I would not own.

    Clarissa, Volume 1 (of 9) Samuel Richardson
  • He furnishes us, moreover, with the precise training to which she had been subjected by her aunt, Mrs. Wilson.

    James Fenimore Cooper Thomas R. Lounsbury
  • To what dangers might she not be subjected, by the intolerant zeal of conversion!

    Leila, Complete Edward Bulwer-Lytton
  • Tissues were being carefully studied by means of the microscope, and scurvy was subjected to this new method of investigation.

    Scurvy Past and Present Alfred Fabian Hess
British Dictionary definitions for subjected


noun (ˈsʌbdʒɪkt)
  1. the predominant theme or topic, as of a book, discussion, etc
  2. (in combination): subject-heading
any branch of learning considered as a course of study
(grammar, logic) a word, phrase, or formal expression about which something is predicated or stated in a sentence; for example, the cat in the sentence The cat catches mice
a person or thing that undergoes experiment, analysis, treatment, etc
a person who lives under the rule of a monarch, government, etc
an object, figure, scene, etc, as selected by an artist or photographer for representation
  1. that which thinks or feels as opposed to the object of thinking and feeling; the self or the mind
  2. a substance as opposed to its attributes
(music) Also called theme. a melodic or thematic phrase used as the principal motif of a fugue, the basis from which the musical material is derived in a sonata-form movement, or the recurrent figure in a rondo
  1. the term of a categorial statement of which something is predicated
  2. the reference or denotation of the subject term of a statement. The subject of John is tall is not the name John, but John himself
an originating motive
change the subject, to select a new topic of conversation
adjective (ˈsʌbdʒɪkt) (usually postpositive) and foll by to
being under the power or sovereignty of a ruler, government, etc: subject peoples
showing a tendency (towards): a child subject to indiscipline
exposed or vulnerable: subject to ribaldry
conditional upon: the results are subject to correction
(preposition) subject to, under the condition that: we accept, subject to her agreement
verb (transitive) (səbˈdʒɛkt)
(foll by to) to cause to undergo the application (of): they subjected him to torture
(often passive) foll by to. to expose or render vulnerable or liable (to some experience): he was subjected to great danger
(foll by to) to bring under the control or authority (of): to subject a soldier to discipline
(rare) to subdue or subjugate
(rare) to present for consideration; submit
(obsolete) to place below
Derived Forms
subjectable, adjective
subjectability, noun
subjectless, adjective
subject-like, adjective
Word Origin
C14: from Latin subjectus brought under, from subicere to place under, from sub- + jacere to throw
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for subjected



early 14c., "person under control or dominion of another," from Old French suget, subget "a subject person or thing" (12c.), from Latin subiectus, noun use of past participle of subicere "to place under," from sub "under" (see sub-) + combining form of iacere "to throw" (see jet (v.)). In 14c., sugges, sogetis, subgit, sugette; form re-Latinized in English 16c.

Meaning "person or thing that may be acted upon" is recorded from 1590s. Meaning "subject matter of an art or science" is attested from 1540s, probably short for subject matter (late 14c.), which is from Medieval Latin subjecta materia, a loan translation of Greek hypokeimene hyle (Aristotle), literally "that which lies beneath." Likewise some specific uses in logic and philosophy are borrowed directly from Latin subjectum "foundation or subject of a proposition," a loan-translation of Aristotle's to hypokeimenon. Grammatical sense is recorded from 1630s. The adjective is attested from early 14c.


late 14c., "to make (a person or nation) subject to another by force," also "to render submissive or dependent," from Latin subjectare, from the root of subject (n.). Meaning "to lay open or expose to (some force or occurrence)" is recorded from 1540s. Related: Subjected; subjecting.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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subjected in Culture

subject definition

A part of every sentence. The subject tells what the sentence is about; it contains the main noun or noun phrase: “The car crashed into the railing”; “Judy and two of her friends were elected to the National Honor Society.” In some cases the subject is implied: you is the implied subject in “Get me some orange juice.” (Compare predicate.)

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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Idioms and Phrases with subjected


In addition to the idiom beginning with subject also see: change the subject
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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