subject

Definitions

General English

  • noun the thing which you are talking about or writing about
  • noun an area of knowledge which you are studying
  • noun a noun or pronoun which comes before a verb and shows the person or thing that does the action expressed by the verb

Law

  • noun somebody who is a citizen of a country and bound by its laws

Media Studies

  • noun the person or thing that a camera is looking at, or who is being interviewed or having a programme made about them

Medical

  • noun a patient, a person who has a particular disease

Politics

  • noun a person who is a citizen of a country, especially one with a king or queen

Origin & History of “subject”

To subject something is etymologically to ‘throw it under’. The verb comes via Old French subjecter from Latin sujectāre, which was formed from subjectus, the past participle of Latin subicere ‘bring down’. this in turn was a compound verb formed from the prefix sub- ‘under’ and jacere ‘throw’ (source also of English abject (15th c.), adjacent, adjective, conjecture, dejected (15th c.), inject (17th c.), jet, jettison, jetty, reject (15th c.), etc). The noun subject, which also came from Latin subjectus, originally denoted a person ‘subjected’ to the control of another (as in ‘the Queen’s subjects’). The most salient modern sense, ‘topic’, comes ultimately from the notion of ‘that which is operated on by something else’.
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