Definition of subordinate in English:

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Pronunciation: /səˈbɔːdɪnət/
1Lower in rank or position: his subordinate officers
More example sentences
  • Though corruption has been rampant among the subordinate ranks, senior officers, by and large, were not tainted by corruption.
  • It is noteworthy that all the members of the court-martial, appointed by the convening officer, were subordinate in rank to him.
  • Thus women are now in the workforce but in positions where they are subordinate to men and under their control.
lower-ranking, junior, lower, lesser, inferior, lowly, minor, supporting;
1.1Of less or secondary importance: in adventure stories, character must be subordinate to action
More example sentences
  • From this perspective, the function of good and/or evil in the morality play is important but subordinate to the role of protagonist/hero.
  • Historically, the tradition has viewed the first and second foci as subordinate to the third.
  • If, on the other hand, he is an act- or rule-utilitarian, he would seem to give character a role that is subordinate to reason.
secondary, lesser, minor, subsidiary, subservient, ancillary, auxiliary, attendant, peripheral, marginal, of little account/importance;
second-class, second-rate, second-fiddle;
supplementary, accessory, additional, extra


Pronunciation: /səˈbɔːdɪnət/
A person under the authority or control of another within an organization: he was mild-mannered, especially with his subordinates
More example sentences
  • The commander of any level is supposed to pay serious attention to work with his subordinates and organize control over their activities.
  • The mere absence of formal legal authority to control the actions of subordinates should therefore not be understood to preclude the imposition of such responsibility.
  • To limit the number of decisions the commander and staff must make, subordinates must have the authority to make decisions.
junior, assistant, second, second in command, number two, right-hand man/woman, deputy, aide, adjutant, subaltern, apprentice, underling, flunkey, minion, lackey, mate, inferior
informal sidekick, henchman, second fiddle, man/girl Friday


Pronunciation: /səˈbɔːdɪneɪt/
[with object]
1Treat or regard as of lesser importance than something else: practical considerations were subordinated to political expediency
More example sentences
  • Fire safety is far too important to be subordinated to political agendas.
  • I'm selfish, egotistical and self-indulgent, but not so much so that I cannot recognise the times when my selfish occupations need to be subordinated to the common good.
  • But there is something transcendental about shared values that shouldn't be subordinated to tactical requirements.
1.1Make subservient to or dependent on something else: to define life would be to subordinate it to reason
More example sentences
  • In the handling of security, both the local military and police are subordinated to the governor.
  • Suffice it to say that either from ignorance of his merits or from jealousy by the Richmond authorities he was subordinated to those who were greatly his inferiors and denied the prominence to which his talents and abilities entitled him.
  • New Christian doctrines stripped Sophia of her divine qualities, dramatically subordinating her to the Father and to Christ as her male partner and savior.



Pronunciation: /səˈbɔːdɪnətli/
Example sentences
  • Then he imagined he heard Brooke's heartbeat as well, turning his head quickly to send a silencing glance over her face; and she, supposedly, subordinately replied.
  • If one herb is used as the major herb, the others are subordinately used to bring out the properties of the major herb.
  • Terias muttered subordinately as she rubbed the top of her head.


Pronunciation: /səˈbɔːdɪnətɪv/
Example sentences
  • The guide below will help you figure out how to strip a subordinative verb to its stem.
  • A simplified, low cost and nonresonant belt or chain tensioner comprising a casing made of sheet metal, a compression spring and a subordinative compression spring of nonlinear characteristic.
  • I think you are right, but let us not forget that many anarchists are not aiming for personal happiness; they simply want to free ethics from its subordinative stance below politics.


Late Middle English: from medieval Latin subordinatus 'placed in an inferior rank', from Latin sub- 'below' + ordinare 'ordain'.

  • coordinate from mid 17th century:

    This was first recorded with the senses ‘of the same rank’ and ‘place in the same rank’. It is formed from the prefix co- ‘together’ and the Latin base ordo ‘order’. From this root come inordinate (Late Middle English) ‘not ordered’ and subordinate (Late Middle English) ‘below in order’.

Words that rhyme with subordinate

coordinate coordinate, inordinate, superordinate

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: sub|or¦din|ate

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