- lower in rank; subordinate: a subaltern employee.
- British Military. noting a commissioned officer below the rank of captain.
- denoting the relation of one proposition to another when the first proposition is implied by the second but the second is not implied by the first.
- (in Aristotelian logic) denoting the relation of a particular proposition to a universal proposition having the same subject, predicate, and quality.
- of or relating to a proposition having either of these relations to another.
- a person who has a subordinate position.
- British Military. a commissioned officer below the rank of captain.
- Logic. a subaltern proposition.
Origin of subaltern
- a commissioned officer below the rank of captain in certain armies, esp the British
- a person of inferior rank or position
- the relation of one proposition to another when the first is implied by the second, esp the relation of a particular to a universal proposition
- (as modifier)a subaltern relation
- of inferior position or rank
Word Origin for subaltern
"subordinate," c.1400 (implied in subalternal), from Middle French subalterne, from Late Latin subalternus, from Latin sub "under" (see sub-) + alternus "every other (one), one after the other" (see alternate (adj.)). The noun meaning "person of inferior rank" is attested from c.1600; as the designation of an army officer, from 1680s.