[suhb-nawr-muh l]


below the normal; less than or inferior to the normal: a subnormal amount of rain.
being less than average in any psychological trait, as intelligence, personality, or emotional adjustment.


a subnormal person.
Geometry. that part of the x-axis of a curve cut off between the ordinate and a normal.

Nearby words

  1. submucosal plexus,
  2. submultiple,
  3. subnasion,
  4. subnet,
  5. subnitrate,
  6. subnotebook,
  7. subnuclear,
  8. subnuclear particle,
  9. subnucleus,
  10. suboccipital

Origin of subnormal

First recorded in 1700–10; sub- + normal

Related formssub·nor·mal·i·ty, noun

Can be confusedabnormal subnormal Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for subnormal

British Dictionary definitions for subnormal



less than the normal
having a low intelligence, esp having an IQ of less than 70


a subnormal person
Derived Formssubnormality (ˌsʌbnɔːˈmælɪtɪ), nounsubnormally, adverb

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 subnormal



1890, from sub- + normal. The noun is from 1710 in geometry; 1916, of persons.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper