• synonyms


[suh b-sid-ee-er-ee]
See more synonyms for subsidiary on Thesaurus.com
  1. serving to assist or supplement; auxiliary; supplementary.
  2. subordinate or secondary: subsidiary issues.
  3. of or relating to a subsidiary.
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noun, plural sub·sid·i·ar·ies.
  1. a subsidiary thing or person.
  2. subsidiary company.
  3. Music. a subordinate theme or subject.
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Origin of subsidiary

1535–45; < Latin subsidiārius, equivalent to subsidi(um) (see subsidy) + -ārius -ary
Related formssub·sid·i·ar·i·ly [suh b-sid-ee-air-uh-lee, -sid-ee-er-] /səbˌsɪd iˈɛər ə li, -ˈsɪd iˌɛr-/, adverbsub·sid·i·ar·i·ness, nounnon·sub·sid·i·ar·y, adjective, noun, plural non·sub·sid·i·ar·ies.un·sub·sid·i·ar·y, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words


Examples from the Web for subsidiary

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • All the rest are important, but their importance is subsidiary.

  • All the other exercises and arrangements of the school are, in fact, preparatory and subsidiary to this.

    The Teacher

    Jacob Abbott

  • And the motivity of sex is subsidiary to this: often directly antagonistic.

  • He made the most of it now, rolling it out with all sorts of subsidiary flourishes.

    Out Like a Light

    Gordon Randall Garrett

  • Here and there subsidiary bands were formed to "clean up the stragglers."

British Dictionary definitions for subsidiary


  1. serving to aid or supplement; auxiliary
  2. of lesser importance; subordinate in function
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noun plural -aries
  1. a person who or thing that is subsidiary
  2. short for subsidiary company
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Derived Formssubsidiarily, adverbsubsidiariness, noun

Word Origin

C16: from Latin subsidiārius supporting, from subsidium subsidy
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 subsidiary


1540s, from Middle French subsidiaire, from Latin subsidiarius "serving to assist or supplement," from subsidium "help, aid" (see subsidy).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper