Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • adj. Belonging to a lower or inferior class or rank; secondary.
  • adj. Subject to the authority or control of another.
  • n. One that is subordinate.
  • transitive v. To put in a lower or inferior rank or class.
  • transitive v. To make subservient; subdue.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. Placed in a lower class, rank, or position.
  • adj. Submissive to or controlled by authority.
  • adj. dependent on and either modifying or complementing the main clause
  • n. One who is subordinate.
  • v. To make subservient.
  • v. To treat as of less value or importance.
  • v. To make of lower priority in order of payment in bankruptcy.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Placed in a lower order, class, or rank; holding a lower or inferior position.
  • adj. Inferior in order, nature, dignity, power, importance, or the like.
  • n. One who stands in order or rank below another; -- distinguished from a principal.
  • transitive v. To place in a lower order or class; to make or consider as of less value or importance.
  • transitive v. To make subject; to subject or subdue.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To place in an order or rank below something else; make or consider as of less value or importance: as, to subordinate temporal to spiritual things.
  • To make auxiliary or subservient to something else; put under control or authority; make subject.
  • In a lower order or class; occupying a lower position in a descending scale; secondary.
  • Inferior in order, nature, dignity, power, rank, importance, etc.
  • In law, a clause in a statute which, from its position or the nature of its substance, or especially by reason of grammatical relation as above indicated, must be deemed controlled or restrained in its meaning if it conflicts with another clause in the same statute.
  • Synonyms Subservient, minor.
  • n. One inferior in power, order, rank, dignity, office, etc.; one who stands in order or rank below another; often, one below and under the orders of another; in grammar, a word or clause dependent on another.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. an assistant subject to the authority or control of another
  • adj. lower in rank or importance
  • adj. subject or submissive to authority or the control of another
  • v. rank or order as less important or consider of less value
  • v. make subordinate, dependent, or subservient
  • n. a word that is more specific than a given word
  • adj. (of a clause) unable to stand alone syntactically as a complete sentence

Etymologies

Middle English subordinat, from Medieval Latin subōrdinātus, past participle of subōrdināre, to put in a lower rank : Latin sub-, sub- + Latin ōrdināre, to set in order (from ōrdō, ōrdin-, order; see ar- in Indo-European roots).
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)

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