Entries linking to subdenomination
word-forming element meaning "under, beneath; behind; from under; resulting from further division," from Latin preposition sub "under, below, beneath, at the foot of," also "close to, up to, towards;" of time, "within, during;" figuratively "subject to, in the power of;" also "a little, somewhat" (as in sub-horridus "somewhat rough"), from PIE *(s)up- (perhaps representing *ex-upo-), a variant form of the root *upo "under," also "up from under." The Latin word also was used as a prefix and in various combinations.
In Latin assimilated to following -c-, -f-, -g-, -p-, and often -r- and -m-. In Old French the prefix appears in the full Latin form only "in learned adoptions of old Latin compounds" [OED], and in popular use it was represented by sous-, sou-; as in French souvenir from Latin subvenire, souscrire (Old French souzescrire) from subscribere, etc.
The original meaning is now obscured in many words from Latin (suggest, suspect, subject, etc.). The prefix is active in Modern English, sometimes meaning "subordinate" (as in subcontractor); "inferior" (17c., as in subhuman); "smaller" (18c.); "a part or division of" (c. 1800, as in subcontinent).
late 14c., denominacioun, "a naming, act of giving a name to," from Old French denominacion "nominating, naming," from Latin denominationem (nominative denominatio) "a calling by anything other than the proper name, metonymy," noun of action from past-participle stem of denominare "to name," from de- "completely" (see de-) + nominare "to name," from nomen "name" (from PIE root *no-men- "name").
From mid-15c. as "a class name, a collective designation," of things; of persons, "a society or collection of individuals," 1660s. From the first comes the monetary sense (1650s) from the second the meaning "religious sect" (1716).
updated on December 19, 2013