[ verb suhb-kuhl-cher; noun suhb-kuhl-cher ]
See synonyms for subculture on
verb (used with object),sub·cul·tured, sub·cul·tur·ing.
  1. Bacteriology. to cultivate (a bacterial strain) again on a new medium.

  1. Bacteriology. a culture derived in this manner.

  2. Sociology.

    • the cultural values and behavioral patterns distinctive of a particular group in a society.

    • a group having social, economic, ethnic, or other traits distinctive enough to distinguish it from others within the same culture or society.

Origin of subculture

First recorded in 1895–1900; sub- + culture

Other words from subculture

  • sub·cul·tur·al, adjective
  • sub·cul·tur·al·ly, adverb Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use subculture in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for subculture


  1. a subdivision of a national culture or an enclave within it with a distinct integrated network of behaviour, beliefs, and attitudes

  2. a culture of microorganisms derived from another culture

  1. (tr) to inoculate (bacteria from one culture medium) onto another medium

Derived forms of subculture

  • subcultural, adjective

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

Cultural definitions for subculture


A group within a society that has its own shared set of customs, attitudes, and values, often accompanied by jargon or slang. A subculture can be organized around a common activity, occupation, age, status, ethnic background, race, religion, or any other unifying social condition, but the term is often used to describe deviant groups, such as thieves and drug users. (See counterculture.)

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.