• synonyms


[suh b-tend, suhb-]
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verb (used with object)
  1. Geometry. to extend under or be opposite to: a chord subtending an arc.
  2. Botany. (of a leaf, bract, etc.) to occur beneath or close to.
  3. to form or mark the outline or boundary of.
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Origin of subtend

1560–70; < Latin subtendere to stretch beneath, equivalent to sub- sub- + tendere to stretch; see tend1
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for subtend

traverse, span, unite, join, bind, couple, reach, cross, attach, link, branch, subtend

Examples from the Web for subtend

Historical Examples of subtend

  • Undersea, submarine; underspan, subtend; underslinking, subterfuge.

    An Outline of English Speech-craft

    William Barnes

  • In like manner the two pale are bracteoles which subtend the flower proper.


    H. Marshall Ward

  • "Subtend" is from the Latin sub (under), and tendere (to stretch).

    The Teaching of Geometry

    David Eugene Smith

  • He did not define "subtend," supposing such words to be already understood.

    The Teaching of Geometry

    David Eugene Smith

  • The cones, about the size of a small walnut, bear spirally arranged imbricated scales which subtend the three-angled winged seeds.

British Dictionary definitions for subtend


verb (tr)
  1. geometry to be opposite to and delimit (an angle or side)
  2. (of a bract, stem, etc) to have (a bud or similar part) growing in its axil
  3. to mark off
  4. to underlie; be inherent in
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Word Origin for subtend

C16: from Latin subtendere to extend beneath, from sub- + tendere to stretch out
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 subtend


1560s, from Latin subtendere, from sub "under" (see sub-) + tendere "to stretch" (see tenet). Related: Subtended; subtending.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper