[suhb-trop-i-kuh l]


bordering on the tropics; nearly tropical.
pertaining to or occurring in a region between tropical and temperate; subtorrid; semitropical.


a subtropical plant.

Origin of subtropical

First recorded in 1835–45; sub- + tropical Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for subtropical

Contemporary Examples of subtropical

  • Another mosquito-borne infection, dengue is found primarily in urban and rural tropical and subtropical regions.

    The Daily Beast logo
    8 Diseases Scarier Than Swine Flu

    Barbara Kantrowitz

    October 16, 2009

Historical Examples of subtropical

  • Occasionally it spreads into subtropical or even temperate regions.

    Insects and Diseases

    Rennie W. Doane

  • Accidental; two instances; habitat, tropical and subtropical America.

    Birds of the Rockies

    Leander Sylvester Keyser

  • The alg of this order are found only in tropical or subtropical waters.

    The Sea-beach at Ebb-tide

    Augusta Foote Arnold

  • Found in southern California and in tropical and subtropical seas.

    The Sea-beach at Ebb-tide

    Augusta Foote Arnold

  • Temperate to Subtropical life-zones of Venezuela and northern and western Colombia.

    American Weasels

    E. Raymond Hall

British Dictionary definitions for subtropical



situated in, used in, characteristic of, or relating to the subtropics
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 subtropical

1842, from sub- + tropical.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

subtropical in Science



Relating to the regions of the Earth bordering on the tropics, just north of the Tropic of Cancer or just south of the Tropic of Capricorn. Subtropical regions are the warmest parts of the two Temperate Zones.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.