subplot (n.) Look up subplot at
also sub-plot, 1812 in literature, from sub- + plot (n.).
subpoena (n.) Look up subpoena at
early 15c., sub pena, from Medieval Latin sub poena "under penalty," the first words of the writ commanding the presence of someone under penalty of failure, from Latin sub "under" (see sub-) + poena, ablative of poena "penalty" (see penal). The verb is attested from 1630s.
subprime (adj.) Look up subprime at
also sub-prime, of loans, etc., by 1978, in frequent use from 1996, from sub- + prime (adj.).
subregion (n.) Look up subregion at
also sub-region, 1830, from sub- + region (n.). Related: Subregional.
subreption (n.) Look up subreption at
"act of obtaining a favor by fraudulent suppression of facts," c. 1600, from Latin subreptionem (nominative subreptio), noun of action from past participle stem of subripere, surripere (see surreptitious). Related: Subreptitious.
subrogate (v.) Look up subrogate at
"to substitute," 1530s, from Latin subrogatus, variant of surrogatus, past participle of subrogare/surrogare "put in another's place, substitute, cause to be chosen in place of another," from sub "in the place of, under" (see sub-) + rogare "to ask, propose," apparently a figurative use of a PIE verb meaning literally "to stretch out (the hand)," from root *reg- "move in a straight line" (compare surrogate). Related: Subrogated; subrogating.
subrogation (n.) Look up subrogation at
early 15c., "irregular or unlawful placement of someone in an office," from Middle French subrogation and directly from Latin subrogationem (nominative subrogatio), noun of action from past participle stem of subrogare (see subrogate).
subscribe (v.) Look up subscribe at
early 15c., "to sign at the bottom of a document," from Latin subscribere "write, write underneath, sign one's name; register," also figuratively "assent, agree to, approve," from sub "underneath" (see sub-) + scribere "to write" (from PIE root *skribh- "to cut"). The meaning "give one's consent" (by subscribing one's name) first recorded mid-15c.; that of "contribute money to" 1630s; and that of "become a regular buyer of a publication" 1711, all originally literal. Related: Subscribed; subscribing.
subscriber (n.) Look up subscriber at
1590s, agent noun from subscribe.
subscript (n.) Look up subscript at
1704, "that which is written underneath," from Latin subscriptus, past participle of subscribere "write underneath" (see subscribe).
subscription (n.) Look up subscription at
c. 1400, "piece of writing at the end of a document," from Middle French subscription (Modern French souscription) and directly from Latin subscriptionem (nominative subscriptio) "anything written underneath, a signature," noun of action from past participle stem of subscribere (see subscribe). Meaning "act of subscribing money" is from 1640s.
subsection (n.) Look up subsection at
also sub-section, 1620s, from sub- + section (n.).
subsequence (n.) Look up subsequence at
c. 1500, from Late Latin subsequentia "act of following, succession," from Latin subsequens (see subsequent). Related: Subsequency.
subsequent (adj.) Look up subsequent at
"following in time, later," mid-15c., from Middle French subsequent (14c.) and directly from Latin subsequentem (nominative subsequens), present participle of subsequi "come after in time, follow closely," figuratively "imitate, conform to," from sub "closely, up to" (see sub-) + sequi "follow" (from PIE root *sekw- (1) "to follow"). Related: Subsequently; subsequential.
subservience (n.) Look up subservience at
1670s, from subservient + -ence. Related: Subserviency (1620s).
subservient (adj.) Look up subservient at
1630s, "useful, serviceable," from Latin subservientem (nominative subserviens), present participle of subservire "assist, serve, come to the help of, lend support," from sub "under" (see sub-) + servire "serve" (see serve (v.)). The meaning "slavishly obedient" is first recorded 1794. Related: Subserviently.
subset (n.) Look up subset at
also sub-set, "subordinate set," 1897, originally in mathematics, from sub- + set (n.1).
subside (v.) Look up subside at
1680s, of objects, "to sink to the bottom," from Latin subsidere "sit down, settle, sink, fall; remain; crouch down, squat," from sub "under, beneath" (see sub-) + sidere "to settle," related to sedere "to sit," from PIE root *sed- (1) "to sit." Of liquid surfaces, "to sink to a lower level, be reduced" from 1706. Related: Subsided; subsiding.
subsidence (n.) Look up subsidence at
1650s, "a settling to the bottom," from Latin subsidentia "a settling down," from subsidens, from subsidere (see subside (v.)).
subsidiarity (n.) Look up subsidiarity at
1936, from German Subsidiarität, paraphrasing the Latin of Pius XI in his Quadragesimo Anno of 1931; see subsidiary + -ity.
subsidiary (adj.) Look up subsidiary at
1540s, from Latin subsidiarius "belonging to a reserve, of a reserve, reserved; serving to assist or supplement," from subsidium "a help, aid, relief, troops in reserve" (see subsidy). As a noun, c. 1600, "subsidiary thing." In Latin the word was used as a noun meaning "the reserve."
subsidise (v.) Look up subsidise at
chiefly British English spelling of subsidize. For suffix, see -ize. Related: Subsidised; subsidising.
subsidize (v.) Look up subsidize at
1755, from subsidy + -ize. Originally "to pay to hire" (mercenaries, foreign troops, etc.), also of nations, "to buy neutrality or alliance." Meaning "to bribe" is from 1815. Meaning "to support by grants of (often government) money" is from 1828. Related: Subsidized; subsidizing.
subsidy (n.) Look up subsidy at
late 14c., from Anglo-French subsidie, Old French subside "help, aid, assistance, contribution," from Latin subsidium "a help, aid, assistance, (military) reinforcements, troops in reserve," from subsidere "to settle down, stay, remain" (see subside).
subsist (v.) Look up subsist at
1540s, "to exist;" c. 1600, "retain the existing state," from Middle French subsister and directly from Latin subsistere "to stand still or firm, take a stand, take position; abide, hold out," from sub "under, up to" (see sub-) + sistere "to assume a standing position, stand still, remain; set, place, cause to stand still," from PIE *si-st-, reduplicated form of root *sta- "to stand, make or be firm." Meaning "to support oneself" (in a certain way) is from 1640s. Related: Subsisted; subsisting.
subsistence (n.) Look up subsistence at
early 15c., "existence, independence," from Late Latin subsistentia "substance, reality," in Medieval Latin also "stability," from Latin subsistens, present participle of subsistere "stand still or firm" (see subsist). Latin subsistentia is a loan-translation of Greek hypostasis "foundation, substance, real nature, subject matter; that which settles at the bottom, sediment," literally "anything set under." In the English word, meaning "act or process of support for physical life" is from 1640s.
subsistent (adj.) Look up subsistent at
1520s, from Latin subsistentem (nominative subsistens), present participle of subsistere "stand still or firm" (see subsistence).
subsoil (n.) Look up subsoil at
1799, from sub- + soil (n.).
subsonic (adj.) Look up subsonic at
also sub-sonic, 1937, from sub- + sonic. Compare supersonic.
subspecies (n.) Look up subspecies at
1690s, from sub- + species.
substance (n.) Look up substance at
c. 1300, "essential nature, real or essential part," from Old French sustance, substance "goods, possessions; nature, composition" (12c.), from Latin substantia "being, essence, material," from substans, present participle of substare "stand firm, stand or be under, be present," from sub "up to, under" (see sub-) + stare "to stand," from PIE root *sta- "to stand, make or be firm."

Latin substantia translates Greek ousia "that which is one's own, one's substance or property; the being, essence, or nature of anything." Meaning "any kind of corporeal matter" is first attested mid-14c. Sense of "the matter of a study, discourse, etc." first recorded late 14c.
substandard (adj.) Look up substandard at
also sub-standard, 1909, from sub- + standard (adj.).
substantial (adj.) Look up substantial at
mid-14c., "ample, sizeable," from Old French substantiel (13c.) and directly from Latin substantialis "having substance or reality, material," in Late Latin "pertaining to the substance or essence," from substantia "being, essence, material" (see substance). Meaning "existing, having real existence" is from late 14c. Meaning "involving an essential part or point" is early 15c. Related: Substantially.
substantiate (v.) Look up substantiate at
1650s, "to make real, to give substance to," from Modern Latin substantiatus, past participle of substantiare, from Latin substantia "being, essence, material" (see substance). Meaning "to demonstrate or prove" is attested from 1803. Related: Substantiated; substantiating.
substantiation (n.) Look up substantiation at
1760, "embodiment;" 1832, "the making good of a statement, the act of proving," noun of action from substantiate.
substantive (adj.) Look up substantive at
mid-15c., "standing by itself," from Old French substantif, from Late Latin substantivus "of substance or being, self-existent," from Latin substantia "being, essence, material" (see substance). The grammatical term (late 14c.) was introduced by the French to denote the noun in contradistinction to the adjective, from Latin nomen substantivum "name or word of substance." Related: Substantival; substantively.
substantive (n.) Look up substantive at
in grammatical use, late 14c., short for noun substantive, from Late Latin substantivium, neuter of substantivus "of substance or being" (see substantive (adj.)). Latin nomen substantivum was "name or word of substance."
substation (n.) Look up substation at
also sub-station, 1864 in the policing sense, from sub- + station (n.). Power grid sense is attested from 1889.
substitute (n.) Look up substitute at
"one who acts in place of another," early 15c., from Middle French substitut (noun use) and directly from Latin substitutus, past participle of substituere "put in place of another" (see substitution). Military draft sense is from 1777, American English. Team sports sense is from 1849. Of foodstuffs, from 1879. As an adjective from early 15c.
substitute (v.) Look up substitute at
early 15c. (transitive), from Latin substitutus, past participle of substituere "put in place of another" (see substitution). Transitive use is from 1888. Related: Substituted; substituting.
substitution (n.) Look up substitution at
late 14c., "appointment of a subordinate or successor," from Middle French substitution or directly from Late Latin substitutionem (nominative substitutio) "a putting in place of (another)," noun of action from past participle stem of Latin substituere "put in place of another, place under or next to, present, submit," from sub "under" (see sub-) + statuere "set up," from PIE root *sta- "to stand, make or be firm," with derivatives meaning "place or thing that is standing."
substract (v.) Look up substract at
"to subtract," 1540s, "now illiterate" [OED], "An erroneous form of subtract, common in vulger use" [Century Dictionary], from Modern Latin substractus, past participle of substrahere, alternative form of subtrahere (see subtraction). Related: Subtracted; subtracting.
substrate (n.) Look up substrate at
1810, from Modern Latin substratum, noun use of neuter singular past participle of Latin substernere "to spread underneath," from sub "under, below, beneath" (see sub-) + sternere "to spread out, lay down, stretch out," from nasalized form of PIE root *stere- "to spread."
substratum (n.) Look up substratum at
1630s, from Modern Latin substratum (plural substrata), noun use of neuter singular past participle of Latin substernere "to spread underneath," from sub "under, below, beneath" (see sub-) + sternere "to spread out, lay down, stretch out," from nasalized form of PIE root *stere- "to spread."
substructure (n.) Look up substructure at
1726, "foundation, part of a building which supports another part," from sub- + structure (n.). Earlier in this sense was substruction (1620s). Related: Substructural.
subsume (v.) Look up subsume at
1530s, from Modern Latin subsumere "to take under," from Latin sub "under" (see sub-) + sumere "to take" (see exempt (adj.)). Related: Subsumed; subsuming, subsumption.
subtend (v.) Look up subtend at
1560s, from Latin subtendere "to stretch underneath," from sub "under" (see sub-) + tendere "to stretch," from PIE root *ten- "to stretch." Related: Subtended; subtending.
subterfuge (n.) Look up subterfuge at
1570s, from Middle French subterfuge (14c.) or directly from Medieval Latin subterfugium "an evasion," from Latin subterfugere "to evade, escape, flee by stealth," from subter "beneath, below;" in compounds "secretly" (from PIE *sup-ter-, suffixed (comparative) form of *(s)up-; see sub-) + fugere "flee" (see fugitive (adj.)).
subterranean (adj.) Look up subterranean at
c. 1600, from Latin subterraneus "underground," from sub "under, beneath" (see sub-) + terra "earth, the ground" (from PIE root *ters- "to dry") + -an.
subtext (n.) Look up subtext at
"underlying theme of a work of literature," 1950, from sub- + text (n.). Originally a term in Konstantin Stanislavsky's theory of acting. Earlier it was used in a literally sense of "text appearing below other text on a page" (1726). Latin subtextere meant "to weave under, work in below."