Word of the Day: Subject

sub-ject / səbjekt




  1. something which forms a matter of discussion, thought, etc.

It is a narrow mind which cannot look at a subject from various points of view.

From ‘Middlemarch’ by George Eliot, 1819-1880


  1. a branch of study or knowledge

Instead, we could teach them important subjects such as How the Mind Works, How to Handle Finances, How to Invest Money for Financial Security, How to be a Parent, How to Create Good Relationships, and How to Create and Maintain Self-Esteem and Self-Worth. Can you imagine what a whole generation of adults would be like if they had been taught these subjects in school along with their regular curriculum?

From ‘You Can Heal Your Life’ by Louise L. Hay, 1926-2017


  1. a cause for something

For every sort of pleasure is never anything more than the quietive of some need or longing; and that pleasure should come to an end as soon as the need ceases, is no more a subject of complaint than that a man cannot go on eating after he has had his dinner, or fall asleep again after a good night’s rest.

Arthur Schopenhauer, 1788-1860


  1. the main theme of a story, book, etc.

The goal, I suppose, any fiction writer has, no matter what your subject, is to hit the human heart and the tear ducts and the nape of the neck and to make a person feel something about what the characters are going through and to experience the moral paradoxes and struggles of being human.

Tim O’Brien, 1946-


  1. an object, person, scene, etc. which an artist chooses to represent

I do not paint a portrait to look like the subject, rather does the person grow to look like his portrait.

Salvador Dali, 1904-1989


  1. the main or principal motif in the melody in a piece of music, most often used in a fugue

A fugue is built from a short phrase, called the fugue subject. The subject begins in one part and is then subsequently taken up by the others.



  1. one under the govern or rule of someone

The presence of a king engenders love

Amongst his subjects, and his royal friends.

William Shakespeare, 1564-1616


  1. in grammar, a unit that functions as the main constituent in a sentence, usually being described or performing an action

In English, all sentences must always have a subject, either a noun or noun phrase, or a pronoun, even if there is no natural subject.



  1. any thing that undergoes an action

To remain current in the test subject pool, physicals are renewed on a yearly basis.





  1. being under the control of something or someone, usually followed by to

Educate your children to self-control, to the habit of holding passion and prejudice and evil tendencies subject to an upright and reasoning will, and you have done much to abolish misery from their future and crimes from society.

Benjamin Franklin, 1706-1790


  1. being under rule or governance

Fear of losing power corrupts those who wield it and fear of the scourge of power corrupts those who are subject to it.

Aung San Suu Kyi, 1945-


  1. exposed, followed by to

Like it or not, women are always subject to criticism if they show too much feeling in public.

From ‘Living History’ by Hillary Rodham Clinton, 1947-


  1. prone

The emotions aren’t always immediately subject to reason, but they are subject to action.

William James, 1842-1910




  1. to undergo an action

Books are not made to be believed, but to be subjected to inquiry.

From ‘The Name of the Rose’ by Umberto Eco, 1932-2016


  1. to make vulnerable to

The human race tends to remember the abuses to which it has been subjected rather than the endearments.

Bertolt Brecht, 1898-1956


  1. to bring under control

All of us are subjected to somebody else’s power at some point.

Sue Grafton, 1940-2017