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subdue

[suh b-doo, -dyoo]
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verb (used with object), sub·dued, sub·du·ing.
  1. to conquer and bring into subjection: Rome subdued Gaul.
  2. to overpower by superior force; overcome.
  3. to bring under mental or emotional control, as by persuasion or intimidation; render submissive.
  4. to repress (feelings, impulses, etc.).
  5. to bring (land) under cultivation: to subdue the wilderness.
  6. to reduce the intensity, force, or vividness of (sound, light, color, etc.); tone down; soften.
  7. to allay (inflammation, infection, etc.).
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Origin of subdue

1350–1400; Middle English so(b)duen, so(b)dewen < Anglo-French *soduer to overcome, Old French soduire to deceive, seduce < Latin subdūcere to withdraw (see subduct); meaning in E (and Anglo-French) < Latin subdere to place beneath, subdue
Related formssub·du·a·ble, adjectivesub·du·a·ble·ness, nounsub·du·a·bly, adverbsub·du·er, nounsub·du·ing·ly, adverbpre·sub·due, verb (used with object), pre·sub·dued, pre·sub·du·ing.un·sub·du·a·ble, adjective

Synonyms

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1. subjugate, vanquish. 3. tame, break, discipline. 3, 4. suppress.

Synonym study

1. See defeat.

Antonyms

4. awaken, arouse. 6. intensify.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for subdue

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • Oh, strong, strong are the ties of flesh, and hard it is to subdue the spirit!

    The White Company

    Arthur Conan Doyle

  • She looked at him with a nervous repugnance to his appearance, which she tried to subdue.

  • In vain the Woman Perfect struggled to subdue her mirth to penitence.

  • Every attempt to subdue or extirpate them, has proved abortive.

  • He was as utterly unable to prevent or subdue this fear, as he was to prevent his breathing.

    The Channings

    Mrs. Henry Wood


British Dictionary definitions for subdue

subdue

verb -dues, -duing or -dued (tr)
  1. to establish ascendancy over by force
  2. to overcome and bring under control, as by intimidation or persuasion
  3. to hold in check or repress (feelings, emotions, etc)
  4. to render less intense or less conspicuous
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Derived Formssubduable, adjectivesubduably, adverbsubdual, noun

Word Origin

C14 sobdue, from Old French soduire to mislead, from Latin subdūcere to remove; English sense influenced by Latin subdere to subject
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 subdue

v.

late 14c., "to conquer," from Old French souduire "deceive, seduce," from Latin subducere "draw, lead away, withdraw" (see subduce). The sense seems to have been taken in Anglo-French from Latin subdere. Subduct in the sense of "subtract" is from 1570s. Related: Subdued; subduing.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper