adjective Finance.

noting or designating a debt obligation whose holder is placed in precedence below secured and general creditors: subordinated debentures.

Origin of subordinated

Related formsun·sub·or·di·nat·ed, adjective


[adjective, noun suh-bawr-dn-it; verb suh-bawr-dn-eyt]


placed in or belonging to a lower order or rank.
of less importance; secondary.
subject to or under the authority of a superior.
subservient or inferior.
subject; dependent.
  1. acting as a modifier, as when I finished, which is subordinate to They were glad in They were glad when I finished.
  2. noting or pertaining to a subordinating conjunction.
Obsolete. submissive.


a subordinate person or thing.

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

to place in a lower order or rank.
to make secondary (usually followed by to): to subordinate work to pleasure.
to make subject, subservient, or dependent (usually followed by to): to subordinate passion to reason.

Origin of subordinate

1425–75; late Middle English (adj.) < Medieval Latin subōrdinātus past participle of subōrdināre to subordinate, equivalent to Latin sub- sub- + ōrdin- (stem of ōrdō) rank, order + -ātus -ate1
Related formssub·or·di·nate·ly, adverbsub·or·di·nate·ness, nounsub·or·di·na·tion, sub·or·di·na·cy [suh-bawr-dn-uh-see] /səˈbɔr dn ə si/, nounsub·or·di·na·tive [suh-bawr-dn-ey-tiv, -bawr-dn-uh-] /səˈbɔr dnˌeɪ tɪv, -ˈbɔr dn ə-/, adjectivenon·sub·or·di·nate, adjectivenon·sub·or·di·nat·ing, adjectivepre·sub·or·di·nate, verb (used with object), pre·sub·or·di·nat·ed, pre·sub·or·di·nat·ing.self-sub·or·di·nat·ing, adjectiveun·sub·or·di·nate, adjectiveun·sub·or·di·na·tive, adjective

Synonyms for subordinate

Antonyms for subordinate Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for subordinated

Contemporary Examples of subordinated

  • In the age of aristocrats everything was subordinated to family bloodlines.

    The Daily Beast logo
    Can We Divorce Our Elites?

    James Poulos

    April 13, 2014

  • The Palestine Partition plan failed because it took ethnic isolationism as a value and subordinated justice to it.

    The Daily Beast logo
    Who's Afraid of Caroline Glick?

    Ahmed Moor

    May 24, 2012

Historical Examples of subordinated

  • All else on his canvas is subordinated to the grim image of the colossal Puritan.

  • Everything of late years has been subordinated to this design.

    The Curse of Education

    Harold E. Gorst

  • For the moment, he subordinated his personal problems to his wrath at Henry.


    Holworthy Hall

  • Select parenthetical clauses and show how they are subordinated.

  • Every refining trait was subordinated to the exigencies of the gospel of force.

    The Sequel

    George A. Taylor

British Dictionary definitions for subordinated


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
Derived Formssubordinately, adverbsubordination or subordinateness, nounsubordinative, adjective

Word Origin for subordinate

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

Word Origin and History for subordinated



mid-15c., from Medieval Latin subordinatus "placed in a lower order, made subject," past participle of subordinare "place in a lower order," from Latin sub "under" (see sub-) + ordinare "arrange" (see ordain). Related: Subordinance; subordinant.



"to bring into a subordinate position," 1590s; see subordinate (adj.). Related: Subordinated; subordinating.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper