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[suh b-soom] /səbˈsum/
verb (used with object), subsumed, subsuming.
to consider or include (an idea, term, proposition, etc.) as part of a more comprehensive one.
to bring (a case, instance, etc.) under a rule.
to take up into a more inclusive classification.
Origin of subsume
1525-35; < Medieval Latin subsūmere, equivalent to Latin sub- sub- + sūmere to take; see consume
Related forms
subsumable, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for subsume
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Now under these laws the Judgement is determinant, for it has nothing to do but to subsume under given laws.

  • It only remains to subsume each empirical event under its proper category.

  • In the next place I subsume a cognition under the condition of the rule (and this is the minor) by means of the judgement.

  • Similarly the actions of animal life depend upon and subsume the laws of organic matter.

    On the Genesis of Species St. George Mivart
  • In the same way the actions of a self-conscious moral agent, such as man, depend upon and subsume the laws of animal life.

    On the Genesis of Species St. George Mivart
  • Hence the problem arises, 'How is it possible to subsume objects of empirical perception under pure conceptions?'

    Kant's Theory of Knowledge Harold Arthur Prichard
  • We are invited to subsume questions of law and of the application of law under the social ideal of the time and place.

British Dictionary definitions for subsume


verb (transitive)
to incorporate (an idea, proposition, case, etc) under a comprehensive or inclusive classification or heading
to consider (an instance of something) as part of a general rule or principle
Derived Forms
subsumable, adjective
Word Origin
C16: from New Latin subsumere, from Latin sub- + sumere to take
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 subsume

1530s, from Modern Latin subsumere "to take under," from Latin sub "under" (see sub-) + sumere "to take" (see exempt (adj.)). Related: Subsumed; subsuming.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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