Subordinate refers to a person, group or thing that is lower in rank or authority than another, or to an assistant who performs tasks or carries out orders under the direction of a superior.


US English

UK English

Part of Speech

Adjective (can also be a noun when referring to a person or group)


inferior, lower-ranking, secondary, subservient, assistant, underling, deputy, subordinate employee.


superior, higher-ranking, dominant, chief, head, principal, boss.

Word Forms

Part of Speech Words
Noun subordinatenesses, subordinateness, subordinate, subordinates, subordination, subordinations
Verb subordinated, subordinate, subordinating, subordinates
Adjective subordinate
Adverb None

Example Sentences

  • The vice president is a subordinate to the president of the company.

  • The teacher gave the students a list of subordinate conjunctions that they needed to memorize.

  • It is important to maintain a clear distinction between the roles of superiors and subordinates in a workplace environment.

  • The infantry unit was unable to complete their mission due to a lack of support from their subordinate units.


The term “subordinate” is a commonly used term in the English language, used to identify a person, group, or thing that possesses lower rank, power, or authority than another. It is an adjective that describes a relationship between superior and inferior, where one entity is subject to the other’s authority.

The word “sub-” is a prefix derived from the Latin word “sub,” which means “under.” The subordinate could also be a noun that refers to a person or group, that acts as an assistant and carries out orders under the direction of a superior. Furthermore, the word has a verb form, “subordinate,” that means to place something or someone in a lower or less authoritative position.

The term “subordinate” is often used in corporate, military, and educational settings, where there is a clear hierarchy of power or authority. In the workplace, a subordinate could be an employee that reports to a supervisor, a department head, or a company executive. Thus, subordination is a vital element in the workplace, because it ensures that everyone understands their role in the organization’s structure, and the chain of command.

In grammar, a subordinate clause is a clause that can not stand alone as a sentence, and it depends on the main clause. Furthermore, a subordinate conjunction is a word that joins a subordinate clause to a main clause, and it displays the relationship between the subordinate clause and the main clause. Some common subordinate conjunctions include “since,” “although,” “even though,” “unless,” and “whereas.”

In summary, the word “subordinate” is a common adjective used to describe a relationship between superior and inferior. It could be a noun that refers to a person, group, or thing in a lower position. Additionally, the word has a verb form, “subordinate,” that means to place something or someone in a lower position. The term “subordinate” is extensively used in the workplace and is essential for maintaining clear communication and a well-defined hierarchy.