Meaning of “subject” in the English Dictionary

"subject" in English

See all translations

subjectnoun [ C ]

uk /ˈsʌb.dʒekt/ us /ˈsʌb.dʒekt/

subject noun [ C ] (AREA OF DISCUSSION)

B1 the thing that is being discussed, considered, or studied:

Our subject for discussion is homelessness.
She has made a series of documentaries on the subject of family relationships.
The guest lecturer took as her subject (= decided to speak about) "punishment and imprisonment in modern society".
The number of planes flying over the town has been the subject of (= has caused) concern since last summer.

More examples

subject noun [ C ] (AREA OF STUDY)

A1 an area of knowledge that is studied in school, college, or university:

My favourite subjects at school were history and English.
mainly UK Her subject (= special area of study) is low-temperature physics.
change the subject

B2 to start talking about a different subject:

I'd tried to explain the situation, but he just changed the subject.

subject noun [ C ] (STORY/PAINTING)

C2 a person, thing, or situation that is written about in a book, article, etc. or shown in a picture, etc.:

The mill by the bridge was the subject of an unfinished painting by J. M. W. Turner.

subject noun [ C ] (GRAMMAR)

B1 specialized language the person or thing that performs the action of a verb, or is joined to a description by a verb:

"Bob" is the subject of the sentence "Bob threw the ball."

More examples


subjectverb [ T ]

uk /səbˈdʒekt/ us /səbˈdʒekt/


uk /ˈsʌb.dʒekt/ us /ˈsʌb.dʒekt/

(Definition of “subject” from the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

"subject" in American English

See all translations

subjectnoun [ C ]

us /ˈsʌb·dʒɪkt, -dʒekt/

subject noun [ C ] (AREA OF DISCUSSION)

something that is being discussed or considered:

School officials broached the subject of extending the school year.
It seemed like a good idea to change the subject.

subject noun [ C ] (SCHOOL COURSE)

an area of knowledge that is studied in school or college:

My favorite subjects are history and geography.

subject noun [ C ] (PERSON)

a person who lives or who has the right to live in a particular country, esp. a country with a king or queen:

a British subject

subject noun [ C ] (GRAMMAR)

grammar the person or thing that performs the action of a verb, or which is joined to a description by a verb:

"Bob" is the subject of the sentence, "Bob threw the ball."

(Definition of “subject” from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)

"subject" in Business English

See all translations


uk /ˈsʌbdʒɪkt/ us
subject to sth

likely to have or experience a particular thing, especially something unpleasant:

be subject to a charge/fee/tariff You may be subject to additional bank charges for currency conversion.
The company could be subject to a hostile takeover.
Income from investment of the capital will be subject to tax.

depending on the stated thing happening:

The $1.14 billion project is subject to approval by the board.
Outline planning permission has been granted, subject to a public inquiry, for a new 10,000-seat stadium on the land.
Tax laws are subject to change.
The notice period for clients to leave the agency are subject to contract.

under the political control or authority of something:

The casinos are located on tribal lands not subject to state or local laws.
subject to average

INSURANCE used about an insurance agreement when the amount of insurance on a property is less than the real value of the property, so the amount paid out by the company will be reduced:

You must adequately insure yourself otherwise you may find yourself subject to average.

(Definition of “subject” from the Cambridge Business English Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)

Help us add to the Cambridge Dictionary!

These examples are from external sources. Click on the icon to tell us if any are not OK.


By the same token, we think that the provision of air traffic services should be open to liberalisation, subject to what each individual country decides is appropriate for itself.
We know and admit that this subject was not quite so urgent at first reading but there are now problems here for procedural reasons.
I am glad that this subject has been raised, for it is an issue of major importance, the furthest-reaching implications of which have not yet been fully examined.
The majority, not all, but the majority, of these rights involve legal redress, in the last instance, after having been subject to a complaint to the competent governmental body.
Community production must endure competition from third country producers whose costs are much lower and who are subject to greatly reduced tariff protection.
In my opinion, the fishing industry and the common fisheries policy should also be subject to derogations in respect of the internal market.
They also call for a general debate on the future of the cohesion policy after 2006, but that is another subject.
The question specifically refers to the relation between excise taxes and the alcohol content of the goods subject to excise tax.
I stand firmly against the way in which racism has been played down, as we have said, to make it a subject of political debate.
The monopolistic activity of sporting organisations has caused numerous problems and must therefore be subject to strict checks and possibly reduced.