[noun suhb-muh-reen, suhb-muh-reen; adjective, verb suhb-muh-reen]
  1. a vessel that can be submerged and navigated under water, usually built for warfare and armed with torpedoes or guided missiles.
  2. something situated or living under the surface of the sea, as a plant or animal.
  3. Chiefly Northeastern and North Midland U.S. a hero sandwich.
  1. situated, occurring, operating, or living under the surface of the sea: a submarine mountain.
  2. of, relating to, or carried on by a submarine or submarines: submarine warfare.
verb (used without object), sub·ma·rined, sub·ma·rin·ing.
  1. to participate in the operating of a submarine.
  2. to move or slide under something.
  3. Slang.
    1. to be thrown under the steering wheel of the vehicle one is driving during a frontal crash.
    2. to be thrown out of one's seat belt in such a crash.
verb (used with object), sub·ma·rined, sub·ma·rin·ing.
  1. to attack or sink by submarine.

Origin of submarine

1640–50; 1895–1900 for def 1; sub- + marine
Related formsan·ti·sub·ma·rine, adjective

Regional variation note Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for submarines

submersible, sub, torpedo, U-boat, hero, hoagie, grinder

Examples from the Web for submarines

Contemporary Examples of submarines

Historical Examples of submarines

British Dictionary definitions for submarines


  1. a vessel, esp one designed for warfare, capable of operating for protracted periods below the surface of the seaOften shortened to: sub
  2. (modifier)
    1. of or relating to a submarinea submarine captain
    2. occurring or situated below the surface of the seaa submarine cable
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 submarines



1640s, from sub- + marine (adj.).



"submarine boat," 1899, from submarine (adj.). The short form sub is first recorded 1917. Submarine sandwich (1955) so called from the shape of the roll.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper