An example of subordinate is an army private who is under command of a general.
A subordinate 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".
Origin of subordinate
- Middle 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 ar- in Indo-European roots)
From American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition