See more synonyms for subway on
  1. Also called, especially British, tube, underground. an underground electric railroad, usually in a large city.
  2. Chiefly British. a short tunnel or underground passageway for pedestrians, automobiles, etc.; underpass.
verb (used without object)
  1. to be transported by a subway: We subwayed uptown.

Origin of subway

First recorded in 1820–30; sub- + way1 Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for subway

underground, metro, tube, chute

Examples from the Web for subway

Contemporary Examples of subway

Historical Examples of subway

  • We were both hanging to straps in the subway and we had but a moment before he got off.

    The Harbor

    Ernest Poole

  • And the girl, journeying in the subway to and from her work!

  • Morrow sped as fast as elevated and subway could carry him to the Bronx.

    The Crevice

    William John Burns and Isabel Ostrander

  • He took the Subway back to the Grand Central, and walked from there to the club.

    The Wall Street Girl

    Frederick Orin Bartlett

  • In the subway, the following evening, Cassy saw a man eyeing her.

    The Paliser case

    Edgar Saltus

British Dictionary definitions for subway


  1. British an underground passage or tunnel enabling pedestrians to cross a road, railway, etc
  2. an underground passage or tunnel for traffic, electric power supplies, etc
  3. mainly US and Canadian an underground railway
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 subway

1825, "underground passage" (for water pipes or pedestrians), from sub- + way. The sense of "underground railway in a city" is first recorded 1893, in reference to Boston.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper