Definitions

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

  • noun An order issued under the authority of a court, commanding a person to appear in court on a particular date, usually to give testimony in a legal case.
  • transitive verb To serve or summon with such a writ.

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

  • noun law A writ requiring someone to appear in court to give testimony.
  • verb To summon with a subpoena.

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

  • noun a writ issued by court authority to compel the attendance of a witness at a judicial proceeding; disobedience may be punishable as a contempt of court
  • verb serve or summon with a subpoena

Etymologies

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

[Middle English suppena, from Medieval Latin sub poenā, under a penalty (from the opening words of the writ) : Latin sub, under; see sub– + Latin poenā, ablative of poena, penalty; see kwei- in Indo-European roots.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

First attested with this spelling in 1623 CE, from Latin: sub ("under") and poena ("penalty").

Examples

Comments

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  • Literally, “under punishment” (of the court)

    September 18, 2007