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[suhb-awl-ter-nit, -al-]
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  1. subordinate.
  2. Botany. placed singly along an axis, but tending to become grouped oppositely.
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Origin of subalternate

1400–50; late Middle English < Medieval Latin subalternātus (past participle of subalternāre to subordinate), equivalent to subaltern(us) subaltern + -ātus -ate1
Related formssub·al·ter·na·tion [suhb-awl-ter-ney-shuh n, -al-] /sʌbˌɔl tərˈneɪ ʃən, -ˌæl-/, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for subalternate

Historical Examples

British Dictionary definitions for subalternate


  1. (of leaves) having an arrangement intermediate between alternate and opposite
  2. following in turn
  3. of lesser quality or status
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Derived Formssubalternation (sʌbˌɔːltəˈneɪʃən), noun
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