Share this entry

Share this page

subaltern

Line breaks: sub|al¦tern
Pronunciation: /ˈsʌb(ə)lt(ə)n
 
/

Definition of subaltern in English:

noun

An officer in the British army below the rank of captain, especially a second lieutenant.
Example sentences
  • This paramilitary force, which in 1861 numbered only 120 troopers, was organised into small divisions in which two or three European officers and subalterns each commanded four to six Aboriginal troopers.
  • When he went on the road he drew impressive crowds ranging from the subalterns at his old military college to the minister of defence himself.
  • Then we had another suicide, one of our newly joined subalterns, which couldn't be put down to the war.

adjective

Back to top  
1Of lower status: the private tutor was a recognized subaltern part of the bourgeois family
More example sentences
  • The Bhakti-Sufi movement was another major pan-Indian articulation of this stream of subaltern dissent.
  • A new type of human being was rising up from its subaltern feudal origins and making its demands known.
  • I am interested in being a good enough humanities teacher in order to be a conduit (Wordsworth's word) between subaltern children and their subaltern teachers.
2 Logic , dated (Of a proposition) implied by another proposition (e.g. as a particular affirmative is by a universal one), but not implying it in return.

Origin

late 16th century (as an adjective): from late Latin subalternus, from Latin sub- 'next below' + alternus 'every other'.

Definition of subaltern in:

Share this entry

Share this page

 

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove adverts and access premium resources

Word of the day Sprachgefühl
Pronunciation: ˈʃprɑːxɡəˌfuːl
noun
intuitive understanding of a language’s natural idiom…