One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1The action of making subaltern or subordinate; the state or fact of being subaltern or subordinate; subordination, hierarchy; an instance of this.
2Logic. The relation between a universal proposition and a particular proposition having the same subject and predicate and being of the same quality; subaltern opposition. Also: an immediate inference from a universal proposition to a particular proposition having the same subject and predicate.
Late 15th century; earliest use found in The Pilgrimage of the Soul. From post-classical Latin subalternation-, subalternatio subordination (especially in logic: from 1250 in British sources), appointment of a deputy from subalternat-, past participial stem of subalternare + classical Latin -iō.
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