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From Middle French subsidiaire, from Latin subsidiarius (belonging to a reserve).


  • IPA(key): /sʌbˈsɪ.di.əɹ.i/, /sʌbˈsɪ.dəɹ.i/, /sʌbˈsɪ.d͡ʒəɹ.i/
    • (file)


subsidiary (comparative more subsidiary, superlative most subsidiary)

  1. Auxiliary or supplemental.
    • 1603, Michel de Montaigne, translated by John Florio, Essays:
      chief ruler and principal head everywhere, not suffragant and subsidiary
    • May 1, 1823, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Difference between stories of dreams and ghosts []
      They constituted a useful subsidiary testimony of another state of existence.
  2. Secondary or subordinate.
    a subsidiary stream
    • 1935, George Goodchild, chapter 5, in Death on the Centre Court:
      By one o'clock the place was choc-a-bloc. […] The restaurant was packed, and the promenade between the two main courts and the subsidiary courts was thronged with healthy-looking youngish people, drawn to the Mecca of tennis from all parts of the country.
  3. Of or relating to a subsidy.
    subsidiary payments to an ally
    • 1836-1853, Philip Stanhope, 5th Earl Stanhope, History of England from the Peace of Utrecht to the Peace of Versailles, 1713-1783
      George the Second relied on his subsidiary treaties.

Related terms[edit]



subsidiary (plural subsidiaries)

  1. A company owned by a parent company or a holding company, also called daughter company or sister company.
  2. (music) A subordinate theme.
  3. One who aids or supplies; an assistant.