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[suhb-si-dee] /ˈsʌb sɪ di/
noun, plural subsidies.
a direct pecuniary aid furnished by a government to a private industrial undertaking, a charity organization, or the like.
a sum paid, often in accordance with a treaty, by one government to another to secure some service in return.
a grant or contribution of money.
money formerly granted by the English Parliament to the crown for special needs.
Origin of subsidy
1325-75; Middle English subsidie < Anglo-French < Latin subsidium auxiliary force, reserve, help, equivalent to sub- sub- + sid-, combining form of sedēre to sit1 + -ium -ium
Related forms
antisubsidy, noun, plural antisubsidies.
nonsubsidy, noun, plural nonsubsidies.
1. Subsidy, subvention are both grants of money, especially governmental, to aid private undertakings. A subsidy is usually given to promote commercial enterprise: a subsidy to manufacturers during a war. A subvention is usually a grant to stimulate enterprises connected with science and the arts: a subvention to a research chemist by a major company. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for subsidy
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Five millions were voted for the war, half a million as a subsidy to the Queen of Hungary.

    Lord Chatham Archibald Phillip Primrose Rosebery
  • On the 29th the crown debts were alleged as a reason for demanding a subsidy.

    The Reign of Mary Tudor W. Llewelyn Williams.
  • I'm not so wedded to petty graft that I would refuse something better in the way of a subsidy.'

  • He contributed to the subsidy in Wilmecote in 1526 and 1546.

    Shakespeare's Family Mrs. C. C. Stopes
  • New Zealand does not propose to organise a naval force of her own, but will assist the British Admiralty with a subsidy.

British Dictionary definitions for subsidy


noun (pl) -dies
a financial aid supplied by a government, as to industry, for reasons of public welfare, the balance of payments, etc
(English history) a financial grant made originally for special purposes by Parliament to the Crown
any monetary contribution, grant, or aid
Word Origin
C14: from Anglo-Norman subsidie, from Latin subsidium assistance, from subsidēre to remain, from sub- down + sedēre to sit
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 subsidy

late 14c., from Anglo-French subsidie, from Old French subside "help, aid, contribution," from Latin subsidium "help, aid, assistance, (military) reinforcements," from sub "behind, near" (see sub-) + sedere "to sit" (see sedentary).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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subsidy in Culture

subsidy definition

A grant made by a government to some individual or business in order to maintain an acceptable standard of living or to stimulate economic growth.

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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