Definition of subhuman in US English:



  • 1Of a lower order of being than the human.

    • ‘Projecting a subhuman image of the opponent in order to legitimize violence and human rights violations is a commonly used psychological tool.’
    • ‘I would be the first to agree that these liberals have a right to try and retrieve their relatively accurate, highly tarnished satanic and subhuman image.’
    • ‘I've been in many homes where the cleaning help is treated as subhuman - ordered around, made to eat separately, severely criticized - by the same people arguing adamantly in favor of civil rights.’
    • ‘Thus, like the pagan of old, the materialist ends up subjecting man to the subhuman.’
    carnal, fleshly, bodily, physical, sensual
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    1. 1.1Zoology (of a primate) closely related to humans.
      • ‘Each of the traditions distinguishes between human, as against subhuman life, behavior and animal.’
      • ‘Instead of a single factor with chemoattractant activity as found with subhuman primate cells and guinea pig cells, two factors were identified that selectively attracted PMNs but not mononuclear cells.’
      • ‘First, there is no evidence from anthropology or from studies of subhuman primates that a ‘primal horde’ dominated by a single male ever existed.’
    2. 1.2 (of people or their behavior) not worthy of a human being; debased or depraved.
      ‘he regards all PR people as subhuman’
      • ‘He's far from the only general partner to treat limited partners as something subhuman.’
      • ‘In rural areas, particularly in the southern states, conditions were subhuman.’
      • ‘Though treated as subhuman, peasants were of course neither deaf, dumb, nor incapable of acting on their perceived interests.’
      • ‘Throughout history, whenever any group has been labelled subhuman, serious abuse has followed.’
      • ‘They are the victims of appalling brutality, singled out by the Nazis as subhuman and beaten mercilessly.’
      savage, brutish, brutal, barbarous, barbaric, cruel, vicious, violent, inhuman
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  • A subhuman creature or person.

    • ‘This terrorism reduced Africans to subhumans whose resources and labor were used to develop foreign countries, which terrorized the African people.’
    • ‘Advocates of out-and-out conquest argued that Indians were either subhumans or heathens and were therefore incapable of having dominion over themselves or over property.’
    • ‘Attempting to contract with subhumans has predictable consequences, consequences that correspond exactly with attempts to contract with two-legged subhumans.’
    • ‘British cartoons routinely depicted the Irish as anarchists, pigs, monkeys, apes, monsters, bog-trotters, and subhumans.’
    • ‘Carried far enough, the person in power sees those under control as beasts or subhumans.’
    • ‘With the aid of this conjunctio oppositorum, one superhuman, the other subhuman, Prospero restores his realm's people to their ‘proper selves’.’
    • ‘They warn of a ‘self-fulfilling prophesy’: If men are told over and over that they are not only brutal subhumans in general but also hostile to women in particular, they are likely to say, ‘So be it.’’