- The definition of subordinate is someone who is lower in rank to another or subject to another's control.
An example of subordinate is an army private who is under command of a general.
- inferior to or placed below another in rank, power, importance, etc.; secondary
- under the power or authority of another
- subservient or submissive
- Gram. having the function of a noun, adjective, or adverb within a sentence: a subordinate phrase
Origin of subordinateMiddle English ; from Medieval Latin subordinatus, past participle of subordinare ; from Classical Latin sub-, under + ordinare, to order: see ordain
- Belonging to a lower or inferior class or rank; secondary.
- Subject to the authority or control of another.
transitive verbsub·or·di·nat·ed, sub·or·di·nat·ing, sub·or·di·nates
- To put in a lower or inferior rank or class.
- To make subservient; subdue.
Origin of subordinateMiddle English subordinat, from Medieval Latin subōrdinātus, past participle of subōrdināre, to put in a lower rank : Latin sub-, sub- + Latin ōrdināre, to set in order (from ōrdō, ōrdin-, order; see ar- in Indo-European roots).
- sub·or′di·nate·ness, sub·or′di·na′tion
(comparative more subordinate, superlative most subordinate)
- Placed in a lower class, rank, or position.
- Submissive or inferior to, or controlled by, authority.
- (grammar, of a clause, not comparable) dependent on and either modifying or complementing the main clause
- In the sentence, “The barbecue finished before John arrived”, the subordinate clause “before John arrived” specifies the time of the main clause, “The barbecue finished”.
- (countable) One who is subordinate.
(third-person singular simple present subordinates, present participle subordinating, simple past and past participle subordinated)