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or subpena

[suh-pee-nuh, suh b-] /səˈpi nə, səb-/ Law.
the usual writ for the summoning of witnesses or the submission of evidence, as records or documents, before a court or other deliberative body.
verb (used with object), subpoenaed, subpoenaing.
to serve with a subpoena.
Origin of subpoena
late Middle English
1375-1425; late Middle English < Latin sub poenā under penalty (the first words of the writ)
Related forms
unsubpoenaed, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for subpoenaed
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Not a word was said to them as to why they had been subpoenaed.

    Secret Armies John L. Spivak
  • On the night Dieckhoff was subpoenaed he suddenly appeared to claim the trunks.

    Secret Armies John L. Spivak
  • You and Berrie and Mrs. McFarlane must get out of here before you are subpoenaed.

    The Forester's Daughter Hamlin Garland
  • I was afraid she might have been subpoenaed as a witness at the inquest, but we were both spared that.

    The Day of Judgment

    Joseph Hocking
  • I find that she was subpoenaed, but her illness makes it impossible for her to be there.

    The Day of Judgment

    Joseph Hocking
British Dictionary definitions for subpoenaed


/səbˈpiːnə; səˈpiːnə/
a writ issued by a court of justice requiring a person to appear before the court at a specified time
verb -nas, -naing, -naed
(transitive) to serve with a subpoena
Word Origin
C15: from Latin: under penalty
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 subpoenaed



early 15c., sub pena, from Medieval Latin sub poena "under penalty," the first words of the writ commanding the presence of someone under penalty of failure, from Latin sub "under" (see sub-) + poena, ablative of poena "penalty" (see penal). The verb is attested from 1630s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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subpoenaed in Culture
subpoena [(suh-pee-nuh)]

An order of a court, a legislature, or a grand jury compelling a witness to be present at a trial or hearing, under penalty of fine or imprisonment. Subpoena is Latin for “under penalty.”

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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