a secondary or subordinate plot, as in a play, novel, or other literary work; underplot. Compare counterplot ( def 2 ).

1915–20; sub- + plot Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
subplot (ˈsʌbˌplɒt)
a subordinate or auxiliary plot in a novel, play, film, etc

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Example sentences
There's also a moving subplot of dislocation and downward mobility in the
  author's own family.
Humor, if there was any, was relegated to the subplot or to an eleven-o'clock
Before long, however, a distinctly human subplot emerged.
There's hunting in the subplot, but it's an anti-hunting story.
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