subtility (n.) Look up subtility at
late 14c., "acuteness, skill, cunning," alteration of subtlety (q.v.) on model of subtile, or else from Old French subtilite, from Latin subtilitas "fineness, simplicity."
subtitle (n.) Look up subtitle at
also sub-title, 1825, "subordinate or additional title, usually explanatory," in reference to literary works, from sub- "under" + title (n.). Applied to motion pictures by 1908. As a verb from 1858. Related: Subtitled.
subtle (adj.) Look up subtle at
c. 1300 (mid-13c. as a surname), sotil, "penetrating; ingenious; refined" (of the mind); "sophisticated, intricate, abstruse" (of arguments), from Old French sotil, soutil, subtil "adept, adroit; cunning, wise; detailed; well-crafted" (12c., Modern French subtil), from Latin subtilis "fine, thin, delicate, finely woven;" figuratively "precise, exact, accurate," in taste or judgment, "fine, keen," of style, "plain, simple, direct," from sub "under" (see sub-) + -tilis, from tela "web, net, warp of a fabric" (see texture (n.)).

From early 14c. in reference to things, "of thin consistency;" in reference to craftsmen, "cunning, skilled, clever;" Depreciative sense "insidious, treacherously cunning; deceitful" is from mid-14c. Material senses of "not dense or viscous, light; pure; delicate, thin, slender; fine, consisting of small particles" are from late 14c. sotil wares were goods sold in powdered form or finely ground. Partially re-Latinized in spelling, and also by confusion with subtile.
subtlety (n.) Look up subtlety at
c. 1300, sotilte, "skill, ingenuity," from Old French sotilte "skillfulness, cunning" (Modern French subtilité), from Latin subtilitatem (nominative subtilitas) "fineness; simplicity, slenderness," noun of quality from subtilis "fine, thin, delicate" (see subtle). From late 14c. as "cleverness, shrewdness; trickery, guile, craftiness," also "thinness, slenderness, smallness; rarity." The -b- begins to appear late 14c. in English, in imitation of Latin.
subtly (adv.) Look up subtly at
early 14c., sotylleche; see subtle + -ly (2).
subtotal (n.) Look up subtotal at
1906, from sub- + total (n.). The verb is attested from 1916.
subtract (v.) Look up subtract at
1530s, "withdraw, withhold, take away, deduct," a back-formation from subtraction (q.v.), or else from Latin subtractus, past participle of subtrahere "take away, draw off." Related: Subtracted; subtracting. Mathematical calculation sense is from 1550s. Earlier verb form was subtraien (early 15c. in the mathematical sense), which is directly from the Latin verb.
Here he teches þe Craft how þou schalt know, whan þou hast subtrayd, wheþer þou hast wel ydo or no. ["Craft of Numbering," c. 1425]
subtraction (n.) Look up subtraction at
c. 1400, "withdrawal, removal," from Late Latin subtractionem (nominative subtractio) "a drawing back, taking away," from past participle stem of Latin subtrahere "take away, draw off, draw from below," from sub "from under" (see sub-) + trahere "to pull, draw" (see tract (n.1)). The mathematical sense is attested from early 15c.
Þou most know þat subtraccion is drawynge of one nowmber oute of anoþer nomber. ["The Crafte of Nombrynge," c. 1425]
subtrahend (n.) Look up subtrahend at
1670s, from Latin subtrahendus (numerus) "(number) to be subtracted," from gerundive of subtrahere "take away, draw off" (see subtraction).
subtropical (adj.) Look up subtropical at
1830, from sub- + tropical.
suburb (n.) Look up suburb at
early 14c., "area outside a town or city," whether agricultural or residential but most frequently residential, from Old French suburbe "suburb of a town," from Latin suburbium "an outlying part of a city" (especially Rome), from sub "below, near" (see sub-) + urbs (genitive urbis) "city" (see urban). Glossed in Old English as underburg. Just beyond the reach of municipal jurisdiction, suburbs had a bad reputation in 17c. England, especially those of London, and suburban had a sense of "inferior, debased, licentious" (as in suburban sinner, slang for "loose woman, prostitute"). By 1817, the tinge had shifted to "of inferior manners and narrow views." Compare also French equivalent faubourg.
[T]he growth of the metropolis throws vast numbers of people into distant dormitories where ... life is carried on without the discipline of rural occupations and without the cultural resources that the Central District of the city still retains. [Lewis Mumford, 1922]
suburban (adj.) Look up suburban at
1620s, from suburb + -an. Somewhat earlier were suburbian, suburbial (c. 1600). Latin had suburbanus "near the city" (of Rome), and in Church Latin suburbicarian was applied to the six diocese near Rome.
suburbanite (n.) Look up suburbanite at
1862, from suburban + -ite (1). Middle English used suburban (n.) in this sense (mid-14c.). An Old English word for "suburbanites" was underburhware.
suburbanization (n.) Look up suburbanization at
1898, noun of action from suburbanize. Also suburbanisation.
suburbanize (v.) Look up suburbanize at
1888 (implied in suburbanized), from suburban + -ize. Related: Suburbanizing. Also suburbanise.
suburbia (n.) Look up suburbia at
1876, from suburb + -ia, perhaps on the model of utopia.
subvention (n.) Look up subvention at
early 15c., from Old French subvencion "support, assistance, taxation" (14c.), from Late Latin subventionem (nominative subventio) "assistance," noun of action from past participle stem of Latin subvenire "come to one's aid, assist, reinforce," from sub "up to" (see sub-) + venire "to come," from a suffixed form of PIE root *gwā- "to come" (see come).
subversion (n.) Look up subversion at
late 14c., "physical destruction, demolition, ruination; overthrow of a system or law," from Old French subversion "downfall, overthrow" (12c.), from Late Latin subversionem (nominative subversio) "an overthrow, ruin, destruction," noun of action from past participle stem of subvertere (see subvert).
subversive (adj.) Look up subversive at
1640s, from Latin subvers-, past participle stem of subvertere (see subvert) + -ive. As a noun, attested from 1887. Related: Subversively; subversiveness.
subvert (v.) Look up subvert at
late 14c., "to raze, destroy, overthrow, undermine, overturn," from Old French subvertir "overthrow, destroy" (13c.), or directly from Latin subvertere "to turn upside down, overturn, overthrow," from sub "under" (see sub-) + vertere "to turn, turn back, be turned; convert, transform, translate; be changed" (see versus). Related: Subverted; subverting.
subway (n.) Look up subway at
1825, "underground passage" (for water pipes or pedestrians, later for electrical wires), from sub- + way (n.). The sense of "underground railway in a city" is first recorded 1892, in reference to London.
suc- Look up suc- at
the usual form of sub- before -c-, an assimiliation from Latin.
succedaneum (n.) Look up succedaneum at
"substitute," 1640s, from neuter of Latin succedaneus "succeeding, acting as substitute" (see succeed). Especially of inferior drugs substituted for better ones. Related: Succedaneous.
succeed (v.) Look up succeed at
late 14c., intransitive and transitive, "come next after, follow after another; take the place of another, be elected or chosen for" a position, from Old French succeder "to follow on" (14c.) and directly from Latin succedere "come after, follow after; go near to; come under; take the place of," also "go from under, mount up, ascend," hence "get on well, prosper, be victorious," from sub "next to, after" (see sub-) + cedere "go, move" (see cede).

Meaning "to continue, endure" is from early 15c. The sense of "turn out well, have a favorable result" in English is first recorded late 15c., with ellipsis of adverb (succeed well). Of persons, "to be successful," from c. 1500. Related: Succeeded; succeeding.
success (n.) Look up success at
1530s, "result, outcome," from Latin successus "an advance, a coming up; a good result, happy outcome," noun use of past participle of succedere "come after" (see succeed). Meaning "accomplishment of desired end" (good success) first recorded 1580s. Meaning "a thing or person which succeeds," especially in public, is from 1882.
The moral flabbiness born of the bitch-goddess SUCCESS. That -- with the squalid interpretation put on the word success -- is our national disease. [William James to H.G. Wells, Sept. 11, 1906]
Success story is attested from 1902. Among the French phrases reported by OED as in use in English late 19c. were succès d'estime "cordial reception given to a literary work out of respect rather than admiration" and succès de scandale "success (especially of a work of art) dependent upon its scandalous character."
successful (adj.) Look up successful at
1580s, from success + -ful. Originally "having or resulting in any kind of success;" since late 19c. it has tended to mean "wealthy, resulting in financial prosperity" unless otherwise indicated. Related: Successfully.
succession (n.) Look up succession at
early 14c., "fact or right of succeeding someone by inheritance," from Old French succession "inheritance; a following on" (13c.), from Latin successionem (nominative successio) "a following after, a coming into another's place, result," noun of action from successus, past participle of succedere (see succeed). Meaning "fact of being later in time" is late 14c. Meaning "a regular sequence" is from mid-15c.
successive (adj.) Look up successive at
early 15c., from Medieval Latin successivus "successive," from success-, stem of Latin succedere "to come after" (see succeed). Related: Successively.
successor (n.) Look up successor at
"one who comes after," late 13c., from Anglo-French successor and Old French successour "successor, heir" (12c., Modern French successeur), from Latin successor "follower, successor," agent noun from past participle stem of succedere "to come after" (see succeed).
succinct (adj.) Look up succinct at
early 15c., "having one's belt fastened tightly," from Middle French succincte, from Latin succinctus "prepared, ready; contracted, short," past participle of succingere "tuck up (clothes for action), gird from below," from assimilated form of sub "up from under" (see sub-) + cingere "to gird" (see cinch (n.)). Sense of "brief, concise" first recorded 1530s. Related: Succinctness.
succinctly (adv.) Look up succinctly at
1530s, from succinct + -ly (2).
succinite (n.) Look up succinite at
1816, "amber-colored mineral," from -ite (1) + Latin succinum "amber," which Klein calls a loan word from a Northern European language that has been assimilated in form to Latin succus, sucus "juice, sap." Related: Succinic, from French succinique.
succor (n.) Look up succor at
c. 1200, socour, earlier socours "aid, help," from Anglo-French succors "help, aid," Old French socors, sucurres "aid, help, assistance" (Modern French secours), from Medieval Latin succursus "help, assistance," from past participle of Latin succurrere "run to help, hasten to the aid of," from assimilated form of sub "up to" (see sub-) + currere "to run" (see current (adj.)). Final -s mistaken in English as a plural inflection and dropped late 13c. Meaning "one who aids or helps" is from c. 1300.
succor (v.) Look up succor at
late 13c., "help or relieve when in difficulty," from Old French succurre "to help, assist" (Modern French secourir), from Latin succerrere "to help, assist" (see succor (n.)). Related: Succored; succoring.
succotash (n.) Look up succotash at
1751, from a word in a Southern New England Algonquian language, such as Narragansett misckquatash "boiled whole kernels of corn." Used by 1793 in New England in reference to a dish of boiled corn and green beans (especially lima beans).
succour Look up succour at
chiefly British English spelling of succor (q.v.); for spelling, see -or.
succubus (n.) Look up succubus at
late 14c., alteration (after incubus, giving a masc. form to a word generally felt as of female meaning) of Late Latin succuba "strumpet," applied to a fiend (generally in female form) having sexual connection with men in their sleep, from succubare "to lie under," from assimilated form of sub "under" (see sub-) + cubare "to lie down" (see cubicle). Related: Succubine (adj.).
succulence (n.) Look up succulence at
1787, from succulent + -ence. Related: Succulency (1610s).
succulent (adj.) Look up succulent at
c. 1600, from French succulent (16c.), from Latin succulentus "having juice, juicy," from succus "juice, sap;" related to sugere "to suck," and possibly cognate with Old English socian "to soak," sucan "to suck" (see sup (v.2)). The noun meaning "plant with juicy tissues" is from 1825.
succumb (v.) Look up succumb at
late 15c., from Old French succomber "succumb, die, lose one's (legal) case," and directly from Latin succumbere "submit, surrender, yield, be overcome; sink down; lie under; cohabit with," from assimilated form of sub "under, beneath" (see sub-) + -cumbere "take a reclining position," related to cubare "lie down" (see cubicle). Originally transitive; sense of "sink under pressure" is first recorded c. 1600. As a euphemism for "to die," from 1849. Related: Succumbed; succumbing.
such (adj.) Look up such at
c. 1200, Old English swylc, swilc "just as, as, in like manner; as if, as though; such a one, he" (pronoun and adjective), from a Proto-Germanic compound *swalikaz "so formed" (source also of Old Saxon sulik, Old Norse slikr, Old Frisian selik, Middle Dutch selc, Dutch zulk, Old High German sulih, German solch, Gothic swaleiks), from swa "so" (see so) + *likan "form," source of Old English gelic "similar" (see like (adj.)). Colloquial suchlike (early 15c.) is pleonastic.
suck (v.) Look up suck at
Old English sucan "to suck," from a Proto-Germanic word of imitative origin (cognates: Old Saxon, Old High German sugan, Old Norse suga, Danish suge, Swedish suga, Middle Dutch sughen, Dutch zuigen, German saugen "to suck"), possibly from the same source as Latin sugere "to suck," succus "juice, sap;" Old Irish sugim, Welsh sugno "to suck;" see sup (v.2). As a noun from c. 1300.

Meaning "do fellatio" is first recorded 1928. Slang sense of "be contemptible" first attested 1971 (the underlying notion is of fellatio). Related: Sucked; sucking. Suck eggs is from 1906. Suck hind tit "be inferior" is American English slang first recorded 1940.
The old, old saying that the runt pig always sucks the hind teat is not so far wrong, as it quite approximates the condition that exists. ["The Chester White Journal," April 1921]
sucker (n.) Look up sucker at
"young mammal before it is weaned," late 14c., agent noun from suck. Slang meaning "person who is easily deceived" is first attested 1836, American English, on notion of naivete; but another theory traces the slang meaning to the fish called a sucker (1753), on the notion of being easy to catch in their annual migrations (the fish so called from the shape of its mouth). As a type of candy from 1823; especially "lollipop" by 1907. Meaning "shoot from the base of a tree or plant" is from 1570s. Also the old name of inhabitants of Illinois.
sucker (v.) Look up sucker at
"to deceive, to make a dupe of," 1939, from sucker (n.) in the related sense. Related: Suckered; suckering.
suckerpunch (n.) Look up suckerpunch at
also sucker-punch, 1926, from sucker in the "dupe" sense + punch (n.3). Figurative use by 1929. As a verb by 1942. Related: Sucker-punched.
suckle (v.) Look up suckle at
c. 1400, perhaps a causative or frequentative form of Middle English suken "to suck" (see suck), but OED suggests instead a back-formation from suckling (though this word is attested only from mid-15c.). Related: Suckled; suckling.
suckling (n.) Look up suckling at
mid-15c., "infant at the breast," from suck + diminutive suffix -ling. Similar formation in Middle Dutch sogeling, Dutch zuigeling, German Säugling. Meaning "calf or other young mammal" is from 1520s. Meaning "act of breast-feeding" is attested from 1799. Adjectival sense "not yet weaned" is from 1799.
sucre (n.) Look up sucre at
monetary unit of Ecuador, 1886, named for Antonio José de Sucre (1795-1830), Venezuelan general and liberator of Ecuador.
sucro- Look up sucro- at
before vowels sucr-, scientific word-forming element meaning "sugar," from Latinized form of French sucre "sugar" (see sugar (n.)).
sucrose (n.) Look up sucrose at
"cane-sugar, white crystalline sugar used as a sweetener," 1857, from French sucre "sugar" (see sugar (n.)) + chemical suffix -ose (2).