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[suhb-doo, -dyoo]
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verb (used with object), sub·dued, sub·du·ing.
  1. to conquer and bring into subjection: Rome subdued Gaul.
  2. to overpower by superior force; overcome.
  3. to bring under mental or emotional control, as by persuasion or intimidation; render submissive.
  4. to repress (feelings, impulses, etc.).
  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.
  7. to allay (inflammation, infection, etc.).
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Origin of subdue

1350–1400; Middle English so(b)duen, so(b)dewen < Anglo-French *soduer to overcome, Old French soduire to deceive, seduce < Latin subdūcere to withdraw (see subduct); meaning in E (and Anglo-French) < Latin subdere to place beneath, subdue
Related formssub·du·a·ble, adjectivesub·du·a·ble·ness, nounsub·du·a·bly, adverbsub·du·er, nounsub·du·ing·ly, adverbpre·sub·due, verb (used with object), pre·sub·dued, pre·sub·du·ing.un·sub·du·a·ble, adjective


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Synonym study

1. See defeat.


Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words


Examples from the Web for subduer

Historical Examples

  • Thereby intimating his opinion that the Subduer was still in the future, by whom Maud's peace of mind was to be imperilled.

    Barren Honour: A Novel

    George A. Lawrence

  • And that subduer of passions was surrounded by his principal counsellors in order of precedence.

  • Knowing thee to be such, the subduer himself of Paka will come to beg of thee thy ear-rings and coat of mail.

  • His hot breath strikes the face of his subduer, who has already seized him with both hands by the horns.

    King of Camargue

    Jean Aicard

  • One evening a "domidor" (a subduer of horses) came for the purpose of breaking-in some colts.

British Dictionary definitions for subduer


verb -dues, -duing or -dued (tr)
  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
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Derived Formssubduable, adjectivesubduably, adverbsubdual, noun

Word Origin

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

Word Origin and History for subduer



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.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper