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Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English
subdued/dim/soft lighting (=lighting that is not very bright)
▪ The old Gary Beaner continues to live on as a receptacle for Pale Eagle, but in a more subdued fashion.
▪ The civil trial provided a more subdued sequel, since Fujisaki refused to allow television cameras into his courtroom.
▪ The young are particularly vivid, their colors and patterns changing systematically with growth to the more subdued beauty of the adult.
▪ San Francisco is more sophisticated, but consequently more subdued.
▪ Where Dorati is elegant, Saccani is lyrical, where Dorati is sometimes joyful, Saccani is more subdued.
▪ Hinds seemed more subdued, distracted.
▪ Lininger and Amlee are more subdued in their assessments.
▪ Although an aging populace and a more subdued economy contribute to this trend, other factors fuel it, too.
▪ Hinds seemed more subdued, distracted.
▪ For some one who had just completed an incisive experiment, Stafford seemed remarkably subdued, even irritable.
▪ Government forces have managed to subdue the rebels.
▪ He felt the urge to apologize, but then subdued it.
▪ Security guards used pepper spray to subdue the man.
▪ The army has been used to subdue unrest in the country's capital.
▪ The soldiers managed to subdue the angry crowd.
▪ Its tone is obtrusive and difficult to subdue.
▪ Mostly they have been military, the attempt of one nation to subdue the rest.
▪ The marines arrived, subdued the sailors, and took them back to the base.
▪ These techniques smooth ruffled feathers, paper over cracks, subdue ominous rumblings.
The Collaborative International Dictionary

Subdue \Sub*due"\, v. t. [imp. & p. p. Subdued; p. pr. & vb. n. Subduing.] [OE. soduen, OF. sosduire to seduce, L. subtus below (fr. sub under) + ducere to lead. See Duke, and cf. Subduct.]

  1. To bring under; to conquer by force or the exertion of superior power, and bring into permanent subjection; to reduce under dominion; to vanquish.

    I will subdue all thine enemies.
    --1 Chron. xvii. 10.

  2. To overpower so as to disable from further resistance; to crush.

    Nothing could have subdued nature To such a lowness, but his unkind daughters.

    If aught . . . were worthy to subdue The soul of man.

  3. To destroy the force of; to overcome; as, medicines subdue a fever.

  4. To render submissive; to bring under command; to reduce to mildness or obedience; to tame; as, to subdue a stubborn child; to subdue the temper or passions.

  5. To overcome, as by persuasion or other mild means; as, to subdue opposition by argument or entreaties.

  6. To reduce to tenderness; to melt; to soften; as, to subdue ferocity by tears.

  7. To make mellow; to break, as land; also, to destroy, as weeds.

  8. To reduce the intensity or degree of; to tone down; to soften; as, to subdue the brilliancy of colors.

    Syn: To conquer; overpower; overcome; surmount; vanquish. See Conquer.

Douglas Harper's Etymology Dictionary

late 14c., "to conquer and reduce to subjection," from Old French souduire, but this meant "deceive, seduce," from Latin subducere "draw away, lead away, carry off; withdraw" (see subduce). The primary sense in English seems to have been taken in Anglo-French from Latin subdere and attached to this word. Related: Subdued; subduing. As an associated noun, subdual is attested from 1670s (subduction having acquired other senses).


vb. To overcome, quieten, or bring under control.

  1. v. put down by force or intimidation; "The government quashes any attempt of an uprising"; "China keeps down her dissidents very efficiently"; "The rich landowners subjugated the peasants working the land" [syn: repress, quash, keep down, subjugate, reduce]

  2. to put down by force or authority; "suppress a nascent uprising"; "stamp down on littering"; "conquer one's desires" [syn: suppress, stamp down, inhibit, conquer, curb]

  3. hold within limits and control; "subdue one's appetites"; "mortify the flesh" [syn: mortify, cricify]

  4. get on top of; deal with successfully; "He overcame his shyness" [syn: overcome, get over, surmount, master]

  5. make subordinate, dependent, or subservient; "Our wishes have to be subordinated to that of our ruler" [syn: subordinate]

  6. correct by punishment or discipline [syn: tame, chasten]

Usage examples of "subdue".

I believe that the ancient Creed, the Eternal Gospel, will stand, and conquer, and prove its might in this age, as it has in every other for eighteen hundred years, by claiming, and subduing, and organising those young anarchic forces, which now, unconscious of their parentage, rebel against Him to whom they owe their being.

Yanagisawa said in the quiet, venomous tone that had subdued many a man braver than Lord Kii.

They eyed each other warily and made subdued displays, showing bristling hair and waving erections.

Still smiling, I safely negotiated the path back to the hootch where I heard subdued laughter coming from the dayroom-cum-briefing room.

Again she said nothing, and again Mallard felt a desire to subdue the pride, or whatever it might be, that had checked the growth of friendliness between them in its very beginning.

Abulafia, were merely names for human tendencies which the meditator could subdue and conquer by personifying them as angels and letters.

He therefore appeared before Aunt Chloe with a touchingly subdued, resigned expression, like one who has suffered immeasurable hardships in behalf of a persecuted fellow-creature,--enlarged upon the fact that Missis had directed him to come to Aunt Chloe for whatever might be wanting to make up the balance in his solids and fluids,--and thus unequivocally acknowledged her right and supremacy in the cooking department, and all thereto pertaining.

An official air carrier whisked Lusena, her ecstatic nieces - Moria, Emer, and Talba - and a subdued Rowan to the resort.

Juno had easily subdued him by neutralizing the thoughtrode connections that linked his brain to its walker-form.

Lady Millicent rested her fingers on the keyboard with her hands slightly arched and her elbows, wrists and hands level, just as Monsieur Couperin recommended, and the first notes of the second partita replaced the faint neighing of a horse and the subdued oaths of an impeccably considerate carter.

From the prudent conduct of Maximin, we may learn that the savage features of his character have been exaggerated by the pencil of party, that his passions, however impetuous, submitted to the force of reason, and that the barbarian possessed something of the generous spirit of Sylla, who subdued the enemies of Rome before he suffered himself to revenge his private injuries.

The lead patroller gestured to the door, and Karfl marched out, followed by a subdued Queas.

The brute repose of Nature, the passionate cunning of man, the strongest of earthly metals, the wierdest of earthly elements, the unconquerable iron subdued by its only conqueror, the wheel and the ploughshare, the sword and the steam-hammer, the arraying of armies and the whole legend of arms, all these things are written, briefly indeed, but quite legibly, on the visiting-card of Mr.

Flesher gestalt, limited by anatomy, was much more subdued than the polis versions, but ve thought ve could detect a growing number of faces expressing consternation.

The Bond Street man stripped away all the velvet and morocco, plucked up the Turkey carpet, draped the scuttle-ports with pale yellow cretonne garnished with orange pompons, subdued the glare of the skylight by a blind of oriental silk, covered the divans with Persian saddlebags, the floor with a delicate Indian matting, and furnished the saloon with all that was most feminine in the way of bamboo chairs and tea-tables, Japanese screens and fans of gorgeous colouring.