[ adjective, noun suh-bawr-dn-it; verb suh-bawr-dn-eyt ]
/ adjective, noun səˈbɔr dn ɪt; verb səˈbɔr dnˌeɪt /
Save This Word!
See synonyms for: subordinate / subordinated / subordinates / subordinating on Thesaurus.com



a subordinate person or thing.

verb (used with object), sub·or·di·nat·ed, sub·or·di·nat·ing.



Apostrophes can be tricky; prove you know the difference between it’s and its in this crafty quiz!
Question 1 of 12
On the farm, the feed for chicks is significantly different from the roosters’; ______ not even comparable.

Origin of subordinate

First recorded in 1425–75; late Middle English adjective subordynat, from Medieval Latin subōrdinātus, past participle of subōrdināre “to subordinate,” equivalent to Latin sub- “under, below, beneath” + ōrdin- (stem of ōrdō ) “rank, order” + -ātus past participle suffix; see sub-, -ate1
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2021

British Dictionary definitions for subordinate


adjective (səˈbɔːdɪnɪt)

of lesser order or importance
under the authority or control of anothera subordinate functionary

noun (səˈbɔːdɪnɪt)

a person or thing that is subordinate

verb (səˈbɔːdɪˌneɪt) (tr usually foll by to)

to put in a lower rank or position (than)
to make subservientto subordinate mind to heart
subordinately, adverbsubordination or subordinateness, nounsubordinative, adjective
C15: from Medieval Latin subordināre, from Latin sub- + ordō rank
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
Get Online Help For Kids!