Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun A person who is lower in position or rank; a subordinate.
  • noun A person who is marginalized and oppressed by the dominant culture, especially in a colonial context.
  • noun Such people considered as a group.
  • noun Chiefly British An officer holding a military rank just below that of captain.
  • noun Logic A particular proposition that follows from a universal with the same subject, predicate, and quality.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • Having an inferior or subordinate position; subordinate; specifically (military), holding the rank of a junior officer usually below the rank of captain.
  • noun A subaltern officer; a subordinate.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • adjective Ranked or ranged below; subordinate; inferior; specifically (Mil.), ranking as a junior officer; being below the rank of captain.
  • adjective (Logic) Asserting only a part of what is asserted in a related proposition.
  • adjective (Logic) See under Genus.
  • noun A person holding a subordinate position; specifically, a commissioned military officer below the rank of captain.
  • noun (Logic) A subaltern proposition.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • adjective Of a lower rank or position; inferior or secondary.
  • noun a subordinate
  • noun UK a commissioned officer having a rank below that of captain; a lieutenant or second lieutenant
  • noun logic A subaltern proposition; a proposition implied by a universal proposition. For example, some crows are black is a subaltern of all crows are black.

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

  • adjective inferior in rank or status
  • noun a British commissioned army officer below the rank of captain

Etymologies

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

[French subalterne, from Old French, from Late Latin subalternus : Latin sub-, sub- + Latin alternus, alternate (from alter, other; see al- in Indo-European roots).]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Late Latin subalternus, from Latin sub- + alternus, from alter.

Examples

  • The term subaltern suggests an interest in social class but more generally it is also a methodological orientation that opens up the study of logics of subordination.

    Colonialism

  • I am sure (if you get newspapers in Ceylon) jump into your mind the moment I mention the word subaltern, and I may as well tell you that in associating me with any one of these deeds at the present time you are entirely wrong.

    Punch, or the London Charivari, Volume 153, November 7, 1917

  • Now, there has been an enormous amount of ink spilled on the question of why the Latin American subaltern studies group split up -- no doubt more ink thank the group itself spilled while it existed.

    Posthegemony

  • Now, there has been an enormous amount of ink spilled on the question of why the Latin American subaltern studies group split up -- no doubt more ink thank the group itself spilled while it existed.

    Posthegemony

  • Now, there has been an enormous amount of ink spilled on the question of why the Latin American subaltern studies group split up -- no doubt more ink thank the group itself spilled while it existed.

    Posthegemony

  • Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar was born in 1891, an untouchable in an India run by the British – that is to say a subaltern twice over, subjugated by an imperial government and by high-caste Indians.

    Unthinkable? An Ambedkar memorial | Editorial

  • When the authors of the previously mentioned books pen their own words through self-publication or through "ghetto" publishers, are they in a better position to speak a subaltern voice?

    Archive 2007-07-01

  • When the authors of the previously mentioned books pen their own words through self-publication or through "ghetto" publishers, are they in a better position to speak a subaltern voice?

    Book Smarts, Street Smarts: So Long at the Fair

  • The subaltern was a lean young redhead from the north continent, his fair face spattered with gold freckles from the tropic sun.

    Analog Science Fiction and Fact

  • A subaltern is a commissioned officer in the army, under the rank of captain.

    Chapter 4. American and English Today. 2. Differences in Usage

Comments

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  • One of these died in Watson's arms during the war in Afghanistan, and he claimed he saw his ghost when he was on leave in Constantinople.

    February 25, 2013