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.’
      • ‘First, there is no evidence from anthropology or from studies of subhuman primates that a ‘primal horde’ dominated by a single male ever existed.’
      • ‘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.’
    2. 1.2 (of people or their behavior) not worthy of a human being; debased or depraved.
      ‘he regards all PR people as subhuman’
      • ‘Though treated as subhuman, peasants were of course neither deaf, dumb, nor incapable of acting on their perceived interests.’
      • ‘They are the victims of appalling brutality, singled out by the Nazis as subhuman and beaten mercilessly.’
      • ‘In rural areas, particularly in the southern states, conditions were subhuman.’
      • ‘He's far from the only general partner to treat limited partners as something subhuman.’
      • ‘Throughout history, whenever any group has been labelled subhuman, serious abuse has followed.’
      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.’
    • ‘Carried far enough, the person in power sees those under control as beasts or subhumans.’
    • ‘Attempting to contract with subhumans has predictable consequences, consequences that correspond exactly with attempts to contract with two-legged subhumans.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘British cartoons routinely depicted the Irish as anarchists, pigs, monkeys, apes, monsters, bog-trotters, and subhumans.’
    • ‘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.’’
    • ‘With the aid of this conjunctio oppositorum, one superhuman, the other subhuman, Prospero restores his realm's people to their ‘proper selves’.’