Definitions

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

  • transitive v. To classify, include, or incorporate in a more comprehensive category or under a general principle: "The evolutionarily later always subsumes and includes the evolutionarily earlier” ( Frederick Turner).

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • v. To place (any one cognition) under another as belonging to it; to include or contain under something else.
  • v. To consider an occurrence as part of a principle or rule; to colligate

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • transitive v. To take up into or under, as individual under species, species under genus, or particular under universal; to place (any one cognition) under another as belonging to it; to include under something else.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • In logic, to state (a case) under a general rule; instance (an object or objects) as belonging to a class under consideration.

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

  • v. contain or include
  • v. consider (an instance of something) as part of a general rule or principle

Etymologies

Medieval Latin subsūmere : Latin sub-, sub- + Latin sūmere, to take; see em- in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Late Latin subsumō, equivalent to the Latin sub- ("sub-") and sūmō ("to take"), confer the English consume. (Wiktionary)

Examples

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  • Advanced societies invariably have subsumed whatever indigenous populations they've encountered

    August 29, 2010