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[verb suhb-kuhl-cher; noun suhb-kuhl-cher] /verb sʌbˈkʌl tʃər; noun ˈsʌbˌkʌl tʃər/
verb (used with object), subcultured, subculturing.
Bacteriology. to cultivate (a bacterial strain) again on a new medium.
Bacteriology. a culture derived in this manner.
  1. the cultural values and behavioral patterns distinctive of a particular group in a society.
  2. a group having social, economic, ethnic, or other traits distinctive enough to distinguish it from others within the same culture or society.
Origin of subculture
First recorded in 1895-1900; sub- + culture
Related forms
subcultural, adjective
subculturally, adverb Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for sub-culture
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Of the four sub-culture areas noted by Kroeber the central group is the most extensive and typical.

    Man, Past and Present Agustus Henry Keane
  • Newly found materialism brought these territories a malignant form of capitalism coupled with a sub-culture of drugs and crime.

    After the Rain Sam Vaknin
British Dictionary definitions for sub-culture


noun (ˈsʌbˌkʌltʃə)
a subdivision of a national culture or an enclave within it with a distinct integrated network of behaviour, beliefs, and attitudes
a culture of microorganisms derived from another culture
verb (sʌbˈkʌltʃə)
(transitive) to inoculate (bacteria from one culture medium) onto another medium
Derived Forms
subcultural, adjective
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for sub-culture



1886, in reference to bacterial cultures, from sub- + culture (n.). From 1936 in reference to human cultures.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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sub-culture in Medicine

subculture sub·cul·ture (sŭb'kŭl'chər)
A culture made by transferring to a fresh medium microorganisms from a previous culture.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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sub-culture in Culture

subculture definition

A group within a society that has its own shared set of customs, attitudes, and values, often accompanied by jargon or slang. A subculture can be organized around a common activity, occupation, age, status, ethnic background, race, religion, or any other unifying social condition, but the term is often used to describe deviant groups, such as thieves and drug users. (See counterculture.)

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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