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Word of the Day
Monday, January 06, 2003

Definitions for subaltern

  1. Ranked or ranged below; subordinate; inferior.
  2. (Chiefly British) Ranking as a junior officer; being below the rank of captain.
  3. (Logic) Asserting only a part of what is asserted in a related proposition.

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Citations for subaltern
Both the old and new elites, not the subaltern underclass of workers and peasants, superimposed the fever chart of the Russian Revolution on what they assumed to have been the fever chart of the French Revolution with a view to determining the degree to which the temperature curves of the two revolutions diverged from each other. Arno J. Mayer, The Furies
The letters are never those of a groveling subaltern to his superior; they are rather like advisories from one soldier to another. Christina Vella, Intimate Enemies
Origin of subaltern
Subaltern derives from Late Latin subalternus, "subordinate," from Latin sub-, "under" + Latin alternus, "alternate," from alter, "other."