Definition of subject in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈsəbjekt/
1A person or thing that is being discussed, described, or dealt with: I’ve said all there is to be said on the subject he’s the subject of a major new biography
More example sentences
  • They have a guest speaker at their monthly meetings, dealing with subjects diverse and interesting.
  • He wrote five works on the subject, the most important of which is one on inference.
  • In the beginning, conditions in the camp were tolerable and some prisoners, being specialists in certain fields, would entertain themselves by lecturing to others on diverse subjects.
theme, subject matter, topic, issue, question, concern, point;
substance, essence, gist
1.1A person or circumstance giving rise to a specified feeling, response, or action: the incident was the subject of international condemnation
More example sentences
  • This all seems to be in response to the subject of human rights and the inclusion of sexual orientation in the bill.
  • Why obscure a news photo taken in a public place about a subject of national concern?
  • The issue of gated communities has been a subject of intense public debate and litigation in recent months.
1.2 Grammar A noun phrase functioning as one of the main components of a clause, being the element about which the rest of the clause is predicated.
Example sentences
  • This style is formal, favouring noun clauses as subjects and objects, and often postponing the main verb, or distancing it from the subject.
  • Two of the subjects produced target language variants of the two structures more consistently after pronoun subjects than after subjects containing a noun.
  • An incidental point: once we have accusative subjects, the third-person singular verb form comes in here comes me is just what we'd expect.
1.3 Logic The part of a proposition about which a statement is made.
Example sentences
  • It is the medium in which objects and subjects actually come into existence, and is the medium in which their virtuality resides.
  • This book is an introduction to logic, as contemporary logicians now understand the subject.
1.4 Music A theme of a fugue or of a piece in sonata form; a leading phrase or motif.
Example sentences
  • At the premiere Handel gave an organ extemporisation on the fugal subject taken up by the choir.
  • Indeed, the fugue's subject is almost a twin to the opening theme of Flos campi.
  • A second subject is more lyrical, but the first is never far away and is used to conclude the movement.
1.5A person who is the focus of scientific or medical attention or experiment.
Example sentences
  • Beecher, himself a physician, detailed the routine abuses of human research subjects in medical experiments.
  • Davies is also keen on another idea: getting the subjects of medical research, the patients, more involved.
  • Asthma was documented by the subject's medical history and by physician diagnosis.
participant, volunteer
informal guinea pig
2A branch of knowledge studied or taught in a school, college, or university.
Example sentences
  • It is important for young people to have training opportunities, but the place for teaching these subjects is at college.
  • It is there that subjects are taught in Gaelic, the only college in Scotland where this happens.
  • On the other hand, districts have used shortages to rationalize the employment of people who have not studied and do nor know the subjects they will teach.
branch of study, discipline, field
3A citizen or member of a state other than its supreme ruler.
Example sentences
  • In saltana, there are no citizens, only subjects, while the ruler is unaccountable except to God.
  • After all, in opening the gallery in 1962, she had been the first British monarch to let her subjects give the family silverware to the Antiques Roadshow once-over.
  • The relationship that the population of Northern Ireland - elites and ordinary people - have to the peace process is like that of subjects to a monarch.
4 Philosophy A thinking or feeling entity; the conscious mind; the ego, especially as opposed to anything external to the mind.
Example sentences
  • In the latter case some go as far as speaking unhesitatingly of the mind as a subject - or a self, ego, or even a soul.
  • In the philosophy of consciousness a subject has over against it a world of objects.
  • Object in his parlance means something met with in experience, or in the subject's consciousness.
4.1The central substance or core of a thing as opposed to its attributes.


Pronunciation: /ˈsəbjekt/
[predicative] (subject to)
1Likely or prone to be affected by (a particular condition or occurrence, typically an unwelcome or unpleasant one): he was subject to bouts of manic depression
susceptible to, liable to, prone to, vulnerable to, predisposed to, at risk of
2Dependent or conditional upon: the proposed merger is subject to the approval of the shareholders
More example sentences
  • It is also subject to environmental approval and the negotiation of a satisfactory dredging contract.
  • He wants our national security decisions subject to the approval of a foreign government.
  • Banks will have the freedom to charge PLR or sub-PLR rates subject to approval of their boards.
conditional on, contingent on, dependent on
3Under the authority of: legislation making Congress subject to the laws it passes
More example sentences
  • In fact, the airport is not subject to the same laws of the land as the rest of us.
  • Gentile believers during Acts were not subject to the law.
  • Banks falling under the securities laws are obviously subject to both banking and securities regulation.
bound by, constrained by, accountable to
3.1 [attributive] Under the control or domination of (another ruler, country, or government): the Greeks were the first subject people to break free from Ottoman rule
More example sentences
  • This elite had no formal place in the fifteenth century constitutions and was therefore not subject to direct control.
  • The Confessionalization offered the state greater control over the subject population.
  • England has always dominated the United Kingdom, although its position has not been that of a colonial power over subject nations.


Pronunciation: /ˈsəbjekt/
(subject to)
Conditionally upon: subject to bankruptcy court approval, the company expects to begin liquidation of its inventory


Pronunciation: /səbˈjekt/
[with object]
1 (subject someone/something to) Cause or force to undergo (a particular experience of form of treatment): he’d subjected her to a terrifying ordeal
More example sentences
  • The idea of having his child did not frighten me as much as the thought of myself being forced to marry him or subject a child to his treatment.
  • Curiously, there does not seem to be any footage of the select committee subjecting Alastair Campbell to equivalent treatment.
  • It's quite another to subject hundreds to that treatment because you've invented such poor mechanisms for screening.
put through, treat with, expose to
2Bring (a person or country) under one’s control or jurisdiction, typically by using force.
Example sentences
  • Moreover, the Malaysian judiciary has been subjected to close political control since independence in 1957.
  • His appeal to citizenship rights would be subjected to the jurisdiction of the national laws in whatever state he was residing.
  • In other words, the major German firms were subjected to tight political supervision and control but were still left at least nominally in private ownership.



Pronunciation: /ˈsəbjək(t)ləs/
Example sentences
  • The interpretation of Dutch art had been strongly conditioned by Eugene Fromentin's famous view of this painting as essentially subjectless.
  • A few newspapers do use subjectless tensed headlines - I've seen it in the Chicago area - but most do not.
  • The word "sorry" can be used with a preposition phrase headed by for where the preposition has as its complement a subjectless gerund-participial clause or a noun phrase denoting an act.


Middle English (in the sense '(person) owing obedience'): from Old French suget, from Latin subjectus 'brought under', past participle of subicere, from sub- 'under' + jacere 'throw'. Senses relating to philosophy, logic, and grammar are derived ultimately from Aristotle's use of to hupokeimenon meaning 'material from which things are made' and 'subject of attributes and predicates'.

  • jet from late 16th century:

    The name jet for a hard black semi-precious mineral comes ultimately from the Greek word gagatēs ‘from Gagai’, a town in Asia Minor. When we refer to a jet of water or gas, or a jet aircraft, we are using a quite different word. It comes from a late 16th-century verb meaning ‘to jut out’, from French jeter ‘to throw’, which goes back to the Latin jacere ‘to throw’. Jut (mid 16th century) is a variant of jet in this sense. Jacere is found in a large number of English words including abject (Late Middle English) literally ‘thrown away’; conjecture (Late Middle English) ‘throw together’; deject (Late Middle English) ‘thrown down’; ejaculate (late 16th century) from jaculum ‘dart, something thrown’; eject (Late Middle English) ‘throw out’; inject (late 16th century) ‘throw in’; jetty (Late Middle English) something thrown out into the water; project (Late Middle English) ‘throw forth’; subject (Middle English) ‘thrown under’; trajectory (late 17th century) ‘something thrown across’. Especially if you use budget airlines, air travel today is far from glamorous, but in the 1950s the idea of flying abroad by jet aircraft was new and sophisticated. At the start of that decade people who flew for pleasure came to be known as the jet set.

Words that rhyme with subject

affect, bisect, bull-necked, collect, confect, connect, correct, defect, deflect, deject, detect, direct, effect, eject, elect, erect, expect, infect, inflect, inject, inspect, interconnect, interject, intersect, misdirect, neglect, object, perfect, project, prospect, protect, reflect, reject, respect, resurrect, sect, select, suspect, transect, unchecked, Utrecht

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: sub·ject

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