Did you know?

Click any word in a definition or example to find the entry for that word

subject  - definition and synonyms


What are red words?

90% of the time, speakers of English use just 7,500 words in speech and writing. These words appear in red, and are graded with stars. One-star words are frequent, two-star words are more frequent, and three-star words are the most frequent.



The thesaurus of synonyms and related words is fully integrated into the dictionary. Click on the thesaurus category heading under the button in an entry to see the synonyms and related words for that meaning.

noun [countable] subject pronunciation in British English /ˈsʌbdʒɪkt/
Word Forms
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  1. 1
    an idea, problem, situation etc that you discuss or write about

    Can we talk about a different subject please?

    subject of:

    He’s never mentioned the subject of money.

    The subject of our debate today will be the environment.

    bring up a subject (=deliberately start talking about a subject):

    It was Carol who brought up the subject of sports facilities.

    get onto a subject (=start talking about a subject without planning to):

    Somehow we got onto the subject of education.

    drop a subject (=deliberately stop talking about a subject):

    Look, I don’t want to talk about it, so can we drop the subject?

    get off the subject (=stop talking about something because you have become interested in something else):

    We’re getting off the subject here – let’s get back to your book.

    change the subject (=deliberately start talking about something else to avoid an argument or embarrassing situation):

    Can we change the subject, please?

  2. 3
    linguistics in English grammar, the person, place, or thing that does what the verb describes. In the sentence ‘Mary threw the ball’, ‘Mary’ is the subject.
  3. 5
    a person or thing that is shown in a photograph, painting, or piece of art
    1. a.
      someone who is written about in a book or article
  4. 6
    someone who lives in a country that is controlled by a king or queen

    a British subject

rat tail

a type of hairstyle which has a long, thin strip of hair growing down the back of the neck

BuzzWord Article

Open Dictionary

speak human

(of a politician) to be able to communicate and connect with ordinary people

add a word


A must for anyone with an interest in the changing face of language. The Macmillan Dictionary blog explores English as it is spoken around the world today.

global English and language change from our blog