Definition of subcontract in English:



  • 1 Employ a firm or person outside one's company to do (work) as part of a larger project.

    ‘we would subcontract the translation work out’
    • ‘Many of them no longer have resident artists or glass painters, and consequently subcontract out to people like my brother.’
    • ‘At the same time, the school authorities won their demand to subcontract with social service agencies to provide students psychological and other counseling services.’
    • ‘The councils were the ‘respectable’ wing of the racist establishment, subcontracting out the use of violent and terrorist methods to the Ku Klux Klan.’
    • ‘Here, my client had subcontracted all the various aspects of the building.’
    • ‘Company management has inserted contract language into its proposal that would allow it to subcontract work or ship it to China.’
    • ‘When they subcontract to foreign companies, which brings in foreign nationals who might have other allegiances in place.’
    • ‘All of the lenders claim that their agreements prohibit spamming, but plenty of lead generators then subcontract out to other lead generators, many of whom use spam.’
    • ‘It will subcontract work to companies and other universities.’
    • ‘A very reputable and conscientious contractor was reroofing a wood frame condominium building and had subcontracted the work on the torch-applied roof to another firm.’
    • ‘Why don't they subcontract out the running of BahamasAir and make them keep the name?’
    • ‘He admitted Costain was in discussions with US firms to subcontract work.’
    • ‘Foundation trusts will be free to break up clinical service elements such as elective surgery, urology, or cardiac services and subcontract clinical work out to commercial firms.’
    • ‘Global companies like The Gap, he explained, typically subcontract with as many as 5,000 factories in 50 countries.’
    • ‘His ability to build the sets without subcontracting the work helps us get much more impact for our budget dollars.’
    • ‘It would be subcontracting out their security.’
    • ‘The conventional arrangement is for the major NGO recipient to subcontract actual field operations out to a number of local indigenous NGOs which do the actual service delivery or data collection.’
    • ‘Did firm A subcontract the work to firm B?’
    • ‘They would receive commissions for particular texts, which they would then subcontract out to scribes, illuminators, and binders, to whom they also supplied materials and tools.’
    • ‘Other factories, she says, also refuse to subcontract with the shop because of its unionized workforce.’
    • ‘Under the new policy, the NSC now has to subcontract more than 9,000 of its research projects to the lowest bidders.’
    contract out, outsource, assign to others, subcontract, delegate
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1[no object]Carry out work for a company as part of a larger project.
      • ‘Other U.K. coal regions attempted to use subcontracting (the ‘butty’ or ‘chartermaster’ system) to retain a labor force.’
      • ‘There have been reports on the government's plan to formulate a draft law on subcontracting.’
      • ‘There's been a great move towards subcontracting, ‘says Gilmore.’’
      • ‘By the early 1980s, they had already established footholds in groceries, liquor stores, dry cleaners, and garment subcontracting.’
      • ‘In Arizona, nine illegal aliens were caught working in the highly sensitive area of defense subcontracting.’
      • ‘The production was subcontracted to another company,’ he said.’
      • ‘We don't have to subcontract out, so we don't lose the essence of design.’
      • ‘A great deal of animation work is subcontracted to specialists who have developed an elaborate social division of labor.’
      • ‘Everyone understands that that's the reality, but it leaves a lot of room for partnering and subcontracting.’
      • ‘The district was asking for the right to subcontract, and the union, by tacking the letter onto the contract, indicated its agreement.’
      • ‘But those companies can subcontract, which is where the Egyptian businesses might come in handy.’
      • ‘The vast majority of shops subcontracted at least part of this work.’
      • ‘When outsourced work is subcontracted, the outsourcing business still provides oversight and adds value to the customer's supply chain.’
      • ‘Bluesky is now the only dealer in Scotland which can install and service PCs and phones without subcontracting.’
      • ‘The booklet reflected the philosophy behind this managerial approach by showing the economic rationale behind subcontracting.’
      • ‘At its height in the days before subcontracting, the company hired 15 people.’
      • ‘However, the flexibilisation and informalisation that result from organisational practices such as subcontracting and franchising only increase a sense of insecurity in the majority of workers.’
      • ‘Another issue in the strike was subcontracting.’
      • ‘A spokesman for Merton said it was not aware of any concerns over subcontracting.’
      • ‘Underlying all decisions about subcontracting is the desire to make the entire project profitable.’


  • A contract for a company or person to do work for another company as part of a larger project.

    [as modifier] ‘subcontract labour’
    ‘subcontract work’
    • ‘Overseas companies, however, are eligible for subcontracts.’
    • ‘The then board of Purity Manganese decided to suspend mining operations until ore had been sold, accordingly all subcontracts were terminated.’
    • ‘Over 70 per cent of the company's revenues and 54 per cent of orders were from Asia where a majority of the subcontract test houses are located.’
    • ‘All the contracts are there, all the subcontracts are there, all the budgets are there.’
    • ‘As production slows, Airbus will let go some temporary workers and reduce subcontracts.’
    • ‘When these processes exist, personnel who go from one project to another can readily find plans, purchase orders, submittals, subcontracts, invoices, and so forth.’
    • ‘Currus is participating in the refurbishment project under a subcontract to Defense Solutions.’
    • ‘The third element requires the agencies to make sure there are opportunities for small businesses to bid for subcontracts and to team up or form joint ventures to compete for bundled contracts.’
    • ‘These sensor contracts were subsumed as subcontracts by the A&O contract with a single prime contractor having overall system performance responsibility.’
    • ‘Levinson's new subsidiary bids and contracts for projects, but subcontracts out all fabrication and erection work.’
    • ‘A few people have suggested that the whole brouhaha over the contracts is largely symbolic since even countries that are barred from bidding on the top-tier contracts can bid on the subcontracts.’
    • ‘The Contractor therefore agrees that he will incorporate the terms and conditions of the Contract Documents into all subcontract agreements he enters into with his Subcontractors.’
    • ‘KBR itself estimated that the subcontract for fuel tankers would run about $685,000, according to the indictment.’
    • ‘He told the minister that while the prime contracts will continue to go to US companies, Australia had the opportunity to bid for valuable subcontracts.’
    • ‘Irish companies will get tax credit against their Irish tax liabilities to subsidise subcontracts from overseas, making them more competitive in tendering for the business.’
    • ‘The subcontract will focus on a limited number of minority serving institutions that have the research needs for high performance computing applications but need access to supercomputers.’
    • ‘The compensation allegedly included subcontracts, free services and payment on fake invoices without work having been done.’
    • ‘The main contractor entered into a subcontract with the defender on the same terms as the main contract.’
    • ‘We don't know the dollar value of this contract or whether it was a subcontract or contract directly with the federal government.’
    • ‘Various subcontracts were modified, including the personnel support services subcontract.’