Subjugated vs subjected to

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Subjugated and subjected to are two different words that are easily confused. While the spellings of these terms are very similar, they mean two different things. We will examine the difference in meaning between the words subjugated and subjected to, the origins of these two terms, and look at some examples of their use in sentences.

Subjugated means to be forced to submit, to be conquered, to be made subordinate. When someone is subjugated, he must acquiesce or bow to the conqueror’s will. Subjugated is the past tense of subjugate, a transitive verb which is a verb that takes an object. Related words are subjugates, subjugating, subjugator, subjugation. The word subjugated is derived from the Latin subjugat-, which means to be brought under the yoke.

Subjected to means caused someone or something to undergo an unpleasant experience or forced someone or something to endure an uncomfortable experience. Subjected to may also be used to describe a country or person being brought under the control of another country or person. It is this definition that is often confused with subjugated. The difference is that subjugated refers to a form of control that may be considered as a type of enslavement, while subjected to describes being controlled by an unpleasant authority. Subjected to is the past tense of the transitive verb subject. Related terms are subject to, subjecting to. Subjected to is derived from Latin subicere, which means to subordinate.


Vassanji hardly needed the cover of speculative fiction to explore generational anxiety, ethnic identity, economic subjugation or postcolonial strife. (The Globe and Mail)

The company, which is in the process of acquiring a portfolio of cybersecurity technologies, said it has no indication or reason to believe it will be subject to enforcement proceedings. (The Wall Street Journal)

They were subjected to voodoo rituals and sworn to loyalty contracts under the threat of family members being killed. (The Mirror)