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From Middle English subdewen, subduen, sodewen, from Old French souduire, from Latin subdūcō (to draw away), perhaps influenced by subdō (to subdue, subject).





subdue (third-person singular simple present subdues, present participle subduing, simple past and past participle subdued)

  1. (transitive) To overcome, quieten, or bring under control.
    • c. 1587–1588, [Christopher Marlowe], Tamburlaine the Great. [] The First Part [], 2nd edition, part 1, London: [] [R. Robinson for] Richard Iones, [], published 1592, →OCLC; reprinted as Tamburlaine the Great (A Scolar Press Facsimile), Menston, Yorkshire, London: Scolar Press, 1973, →ISBN, Act II, scene ii:
      And when their ſcattered armie is ſubdu’d:
      And you march on their ſlaughtered carkaſſes,
      Share equally the gold that bought their liues,
      And liue like Gentlmen in Perſea, []
    • 2011 September 2, Phil McNulty, “Bulgaria 0-3 England”, in BBC[1]:
      Gary Cahill, a target for Arsenal and Tottenham before the transfer window closed, put England ahead early on and Rooney was on target twice before the interval as the early hostility of the Bulgarian supporters was swiftly subdued.
  2. (transitive) To bring (a country) under control by force.