verb (used with object)

to bribe or induce (someone) unlawfully or secretly to perform some misdeed or to commit a crime.
  1. to induce (a person, especially a witness) to give false testimony.
  2. to obtain (false testimony) from a witness.

Origin of suborn

1525–35; < Latin subornāre to instigate secretly, orig., to supply, equivalent to sub- sub- + ornāre to equip; see adorn
Related formssub·or·na·tion [suhb-awr-ney-shuh n] /ˌsʌb ɔrˈneɪ ʃən/, nounsub·or·na·tive [suh-bawr-nuh-tiv] /səˈbɔr nə tɪv/, adjectivesub·orn·er, nounun·sub·orned, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for suborned

instigate, incite, procure, bribe

Examples from the Web for suborned

Contemporary Examples of suborned

  • In the 1950s, people worried that government officials who traveled abroad might have been suborned by communist agents.

    The Daily Beast logo
    'Transparency' is Overrated

    David Frum

    July 11, 2012

  • He seduced and suborned some of its biggest stars with big paydays delivered to secret bank accounts.

    The Daily Beast logo
    Raj Deserved It

    Allan Dodds Frank

    October 26, 2011

Historical Examples of suborned

British Dictionary definitions for suborned


verb (tr)

to bribe, incite, or instigate (a person) to commit a wrongful act
criminal law to induce (a witness) to commit perjury
Derived Formssubornation (ˌsʌbɔːˈneɪʃən), nounsubornative (sʌˈbɔːnətɪv), adjectivesuborner, noun

Word Origin for suborn

C16: from Latin subornāre, from sub- secretly + ornāre to furnish
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 suborned



"to procure by bribery, to lure (someone) to commit a crime," 1520s (implied in subornation), from Middle French suborner (13c.), from Latin subornare "suborn," originally "equip," from sub "under, secretly" (see sub-) + ornare "equip," related to ordo "order" (see order). Related: Suborned; suborning.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper