Definitions

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

  • n. Monetary assistance granted by a government to a person or group in support of an enterprise regarded as being in the public interest.
  • n. Financial assistance given by one person or government to another.
  • n. Money formerly granted to the British Crown by Parliament.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. financial support or assistance, such as a grant
  • n. money granted by parliament to the British Crown

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. Support; aid; coöperation; esp., extraordinary aid in money rendered to the sovereign or to a friendly power.
  • n. Specifically: A sum of money paid by one sovereign or nation to another to purchase the coöperation or the neutrality of such sovereign or nation in war.
  • n. A grant from the government, from a municipal corporation, or the like, to a private person or company to assist the establishment or support of an enterprise deemed advantageous to the public; a subvention.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. An aid in money; pecuniary aid.
  • n. Especially— In English history, an aid or tax formerly granted by Parliament to the crown for the urgent occasions of the realm, and levied on every subject of ability according to the value of his lands or goods; a tax levied on a particular occasion.
  • n. A sum paid, often according to treaty, by one government to another, sometimes to secure its neutrality, but more frequently to meet the expenses of carrying on a war.
  • n. Any direct pecuniary aid furnished by the state to private industrial undertakings, or to eleemosynary institutions. Such aid includes bounties on exports, those paid to the owners of ships for running them, and donations of land or money to railroad, manufacturing, theatrical, and other enterprises.
  • n. Synonyms Subsidy, Subvention. In the original and essential meaning of a government grant in aid of a commercial enterprise, these termsare substantially equivalent; but two circumstances lead to some difference in common usage.
  • n. Such grants being rarely, if ever, made in England or the United States except in aid of the mercantile marine, the establishment of lines of transportation, or the like, subsidy is used more commonly than subvention in reference to such enterprises, while, such grants being frequent in France in aid of the drama and the press, etc., the word subvention is used more commonly than subsidy in application to enterprises connected with literature and the arts.
  • n. Writers who oppose all such uses of public funds commonly prefer to characterize them as subsidies, while those who approve of them commonly prefer the term subvention.

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

  • n. a grant paid by a government to an enterprise that benefits the public

Etymologies

Middle English subsidie, from Anglo-Norman, from Latin subsidium, support : sub-, behind, beneath; see sub- + sedēre, to sit.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Latin subsidium, from subsidere ("subsidize"). (Wiktionary)

Examples

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