- to conquer and bring into subjection: Rome subdued Gaul.
- to overpower by superior force; overcome.
- to bring under mental or emotional control, as by persuasion or intimidation; render submissive.
- to repress (feelings, impulses, etc.).
- to bring (land) under cultivation: to subdue the wilderness.
- to reduce the intensity, force, or vividness of (sound, light, color, etc.); tone down; soften.
- to allay (inflammation, infection, etc.).
Origin of subdue
SynonymsSee more synonyms for subdue on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for subdue
It took a blow to the head from Clark and the assistance of three deputies to subdue her.Dr. King Goes to Hollywood: The Flawed History of ‘Selma’
January 2, 2015
The younger brother would try everything in his power from a distance to subdue the roaring flames of passion.Decoding Vincent Van Gogh’s Tempestuous, Fragile Mind
December 7, 2014
At least one Metropolitan Police officer was injured during the struggle to subdue the man.London Woman Beheaded by Machete-Wielding 'Madman'
September 4, 2014
A brief struggle ensues as several officers attempt to subdue a squirming Grant, his hands behind his back.‘Fruitvale Station,’ Sundance’s Hottest Film, Comes to Theaters
January 22, 2013
Yet it is these very anarchic groups that the Second Amendment was incorporated to subdue.Gun-Control Foes Misunderstand the Intent of the Second Amendment
December 18, 2012
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.Female Scripture Biographies, Vol. I
Francis Augustus Cox
He was as utterly unable to prevent or subdue this fear, as he was to prevent his breathing.The Channings
Mrs. Henry Wood
- to establish ascendancy over by force
- to overcome and bring under control, as by intimidation or persuasion
- to hold in check or repress (feelings, emotions, etc)
- to render less intense or less conspicuous
Word Origin and History for subdue
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.