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Word of the Day
Wednesday, May 09, 2018

Definitions for suborn

  1. to bribe or induce (someone) unlawfully or secretly to perform some misdeed or to commit a crime.
  2. Law. a. to induce (a person, especially a witness) to give false testimony. b. to obtain (false testimony) from a witness.

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Citations for suborn
... he had been concerned “because of known Russian efforts to suborn such individuals.” Elizabeth Olson, "Former C.I.A. Chief John Brennan to Become a Fellow at Fordham," New York Times, September 4, 2017
... I had been brought in as a spy, to help in betraying him, and Joyce had suborned him to the act of treachery. Bram Stoker, The Snake's Pass, 1890
Origin of suborn
1525-1535
The Latin verb subornāre, the ultimate source of English suborn, is composed of the prefix sub- “under, subordinate, near to, partially, secretly” and the verb ornāre “to prepare, equip, arrange.” Ornāre is from an assumed ordnāre, a derivative of the noun ordō (stem ordin-) “line, row, rank, grade.” Subornāre has several meanings: when the sense of the verb ornāre predominates, the compound means “to supply, furnish; to dress up (in costume or disguise); when the sense of the prefix sub-, meaning “secretly, covertly,” predominates, the compound means “to instigate secretly or underhandedly, prepare clandestinely.” An extension of this last sense, “to induce someone to commit a crime or perjury,” from suborner in Old and Middle French, is its current sense in English. Suborn entered English in the 16th century.