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subaltern

[suhb-awl-tern or especially for 3, 6, suhb-uh l-turn]
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adjective
  1. lower in rank; subordinate: a subaltern employee.
  2. British Military. noting a commissioned officer below the rank of captain.
  3. Logic.
    1. denoting the relation of one proposition to another when the first proposition is implied by the second but the second is not implied by the first.
    2. (in Aristotelian logic) denoting the relation of a particular proposition to a universal proposition having the same subject, predicate, and quality.
    3. of or relating to a proposition having either of these relations to another.
noun
  1. a person who has a subordinate position.
  2. British Military. a commissioned officer below the rank of captain.
  3. Logic. a subaltern proposition.

Origin of subaltern

1575–85; < Late Latin subalternus, equivalent to sub- sub- + alternus alternate
Related formssub·al·ter·ni·ty, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for subaltern

subaltern

noun
  1. a commissioned officer below the rank of captain in certain armies, esp the British
  2. a person of inferior rank or position
  3. logic
    1. the relation of one proposition to another when the first is implied by the second, esp the relation of a particular to a universal proposition
    2. (as modifier)a subaltern relation
adjective
  1. of inferior position or rank

Word Origin

C16: from Late Latin subalternus, from Latin sub- + alternus alternate, from alter the other
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

Word Origin and History for subaltern

n.

"subordinate," c.1400 (implied in subalternal), from Middle French subalterne, from Late Latin subalternus, from Latin sub "under" (see sub-) + alternus "every other (one), one after the other" (see alternate (adj.)). The noun meaning "person of inferior rank" is attested from c.1600; as the designation of an army officer, from 1680s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper