Definitions

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

  • transitive verb To subjugate (a region or people, for example) by military force.
  • transitive verb To bring under control by physical force, persuasion, or other means; overcome.
  • transitive verb To make less intense or prominent; reduce or tone down.
  • transitive verb To bring (land) under cultivation.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun Subjugation; conquest.
  • To conquer and bring into permanent subjection; reduce under dominion.
  • To overpower by superior force; gain the victory over; bring under; vanquish; crush.
  • To prevail over by some mild or softening influence; influence by association; assimilate; overcome, as by kindness, persuasion, entreaty, or other mild means; gain complete sway over; melt.
  • To bring down; reduce.
  • To tone down; soften; make less striking or harsh, as in sound, illumination, or color: in this sense generally in the past participle: as, subdued colors; a subdued light.
  • To improve by cultivation; make mellow; break, as land.
  • Synonyms and Vanquish, Subjugate, etc. (see conquer), crush, quell.
  • To soften.

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

  • transitive verb To bring under; to conquer by force or the exertion of superior power, and bring into permanent subjection; to reduce under dominion; to vanquish.
  • transitive verb To overpower so as to disable from further resistance; to crush.
  • transitive verb To destroy the force of; to overcome.
  • transitive verb To render submissive; to bring under command; to reduce to mildness or obedience; to tame.
  • transitive verb To overcome, as by persuasion or other mild means.
  • transitive verb To reduce to tenderness; to melt; to soften.
  • transitive verb To make mellow; to break, as land; also, to destroy, as weeds.
  • transitive verb To reduce the intensity or degree of; to tone down; to soften.

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

  • verb To overcome, quieten, or bring under control.
  • verb To bring (a country) under control by force.

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

  • verb get on top of; deal with successfully
  • verb to put down by force or authority
  • verb put down by force or intimidation
  • verb correct by punishment or discipline
  • verb hold within limits and control
  • verb make subordinate, dependent, or subservient

Etymologies

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

[Middle English subduen, alteration (influenced by Latin subdere, to subject) of Old French suduire, to seduce, from Latin subdūcere, to withdraw (probably influenced by Latin sēdūcere, to seduce) : sub-, away; see sub– + dūcere, to lead; see deuk- in Indo-European roots.]

Examples

  • But the harsh facts of human history belie this benign revisionist interpretation of the meaning of "subdue," and the preponderance of unambiguous passages in the Bible giving mankind dominion over nature's bounty argue against any idea that religion is environmentalism in disguise.

    Jeff Schweitzer: A New Environmental Ethic

  • But the harsh facts of human history belie this benign revisionist interpretation of the meaning of "subdue" and "rule over."

    Jeff Schweitzer: A Failure of Morality

  • Humans are told to "subdue" the earth and "rule over" the air, land and sea.

    Jeff Schweitzer: Climate Change and Christian Values

  • But the harsh facts of human history belie this benign revisionist interpretation of the meaning of "subdue".

    Jeff Schweitzer: Climate Change and Christian Values

  • A kid lying on the ground with a broken back was allegedly saying "shoot cops, kill cops" so they had to taser him 19 times to "subdue" him.

    Hullabaloo

  • Is allegedly* hit by Police in an attempt to "subdue" her.

    Newsnight

  • Is allegedly* hit by Police in an attempt to "subdue" her.

    Archive 2007-03-01

  • Would you be so kind as to describe how one person might "subdue" another person by the written use of a particular word or words?

    Banning some words HERE on This Website

  • Would you be so kind as to describe how one person might "subdue" another person by the written use of a particular word or words?

    Banning some words HERE on This Website

  • Chapter 1's command that humanity "subdue" the earth and "have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moves upon the earth" now yields to chapter 2's description of Adam's mission "to dress . . . and to keep" the garden of Eden.

    Mother superior

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