View synonyms for subdue


[ suhb-doo, -dyoo ]

verb (used with object)

, sub·dued, sub·du·ing.
  1. to conquer and bring into subjection:

    Rome subdued Gaul.

    Synonyms: vanquish, subjugate

  2. to overpower by superior force; overcome.
  3. to bring under mental or emotional control, as by persuasion or intimidation; render submissive.

    Synonyms: suppress, discipline, break, tame

  4. to repress (feelings, impulses, etc.).

    Synonyms: suppress

    Antonyms: arouse, awaken

  5. to bring (land) under cultivation:

    to subdue the wilderness.

  6. to reduce the intensity, force, or vividness of (sound, light, color, etc.); tone down; soften.

    Antonyms: intensify

  7. to allay (inflammation, infection, etc.).


/ səbˈdjuː /


  1. to establish ascendancy over by force
  2. to overcome and bring under control, as by intimidation or persuasion
  3. to hold in check or repress (feelings, emotions, etc)
  4. to render less intense or less conspicuous
“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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Derived Forms

  • subˈdual, noun
  • subˈduable, adjective
  • subˈduably, adverb
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Other Words From

  • sub·dua·ble adjective
  • sub·dua·ble·ness noun
  • sub·dua·bly adverb
  • sub·duer noun
  • sub·duing·ly adverb
  • presub·due verb (used with object) presubdued presubduing
  • unsub·dua·ble adjective
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Word History and Origins

Origin of subdue1

First recorded in 1350–1400; Middle English so(b)duen, so(b)dewen, from unattested Anglo-French soduer “to overcome,” from Old French soduire “to deceive, seduce,” from Latin subdūcere “to withdraw”; meaning in English (and Anglo-French ) from Latin subdere “to place beneath, subdue”; subduct
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Word History and Origins

Origin of subdue1

C14 sobdue, from Old French soduire to mislead, from Latin subdūcere to remove; English sense influenced by Latin subdere to subject
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Synonym Study

See defeat.
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Example Sentences

Plus, in all three color options, one side is subdued, while the opposite is something fun.

That voice that sang alongside Patti LaBelle and Lauryn Hill, the one that gets critics to consistently call her “underrated,” was subdued as she strained to breathe.

A day later in his cell, video footage shows Sheriff’s deputies tried to subdue a visibly disturbed Silva to take him for a medical evaluation.

Having recovered from a virus-induced downturn, the $220 billion Hong Kong–listed services company is now contending with the potentially larger threat of government regulation, which Beijing proposed last month to subdue China’s runaway tech giants.

From Fortune

Given all that’s gone on this year, it’s worth asking whether police officers and the communities they serve might be better off if cops had something other than guns to subdue unruly suspects.

From Ozy

It took a blow to the head from Clark and the assistance of three deputies to subdue her.

The younger brother would try everything in his power from a distance to subdue the roaring flames of passion.

At least one Metropolitan Police officer was injured during the struggle to subdue the man.

A brief struggle ensues as several officers attempt to subdue a squirming Grant, his hands behind his back.

Yet it is these very anarchic groups that the Second Amendment was incorporated to subdue.

Malcolm had selected it as a training-ground that evening, because he meant to weary and subdue his too highly spirited charger.

And unless thou speedily prevent them, they will do greater things than these, and thou shalt not be able to subdue them.

"It's an awfu' gran' book, Rob," she would say after a time, while she strove to subdue the sobs in her breast.

The Romans took two hundred years to subdue it, and the Moors never obtained a footing there.

Forthwith did Earl Hakon subdue all the land and that winter abode he in Throndhjem.





subduction zonesubdued