a prefix occurring originally in loanwords from Latin (subject; subtract; subvert; subsidy); on this model, freely attached to elements of any origin and used with the meaning “under,” “below,” “beneath” (subalpine; substratum), “slightly,” “imperfectly,” “nearly” (subcolumnar; subtropical), “secondary,” “subordinate” (subcommittee; subplot).
- a prefix indicating a basic compound: subacetate; subcarbonate; subnitrate.
- a prefix indicating that the element is present in a relatively small proportion, i.e., in a low oxidation state: subchloride; suboxide.
Origin of sub-
< Latin, combining form representing sub (preposition); akin to Greek hypó; see hypo-
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019
British Dictionary definitions for sub-
situated under or beneathsubterranean
secondary in rank; subordinatesubeditor
falling short of; less than or imperfectlysubarctic; subhuman
forming a subdivision or subordinate part of a wholesubcommittee
- indicating that a compound contains a relatively small proportion of a specified elementsuboxide
- indicating that a salt is basic saltsubacetate
Word Origin for sub-
from Latin sub
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
Medicine definitions for sub-
Below; under; beneath:subcutaneous.
Less than completely or normally; nearly; almost:subfertility.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Science definitions for sub-
A prefix that means underneath or lower (as in subsoil), a subordinate or secondary part of something else (as in subphylum.), or less than completely (as in subtropical.)
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.