Definition of subsidy in US English:



  • 1A sum of money granted by the government or a public body to assist an industry or business so that the price of a commodity or service may remain low or competitive.

    ‘a farm subsidy’
    ‘they disdain government subsidy’
    • ‘Government has forsworn prices and incomes policies and cut back subsidies for industry.’
    • ‘Washington is already at work to provide industry subsidies and loan programs, additional tax cuts for both businesses and consumers, and new government spending.’
    • ‘The authors are right to argue that subsidies to businesses and agriculture should be eliminated.’
    • ‘Scrap all import tariffs and all industry subsidies.’
    • ‘Individual governments have also supported a variety of other industries through nationalization, subsidies, and special incentives.’
    • ‘Examples of distortions are monopoly rents, hidden subsidies, artificially determined floors and ceilings on input prices.’
    • ‘They therefore supported new industries by granting subsidies, tax exemptions, tariff protection and emergency relief.’
    • ‘Export subsidies lower the world price at which domestic industries are willing to sell various quantities of their product.’
    • ‘If a government has an export subsidy programme, requests for subsidies from different industries will exceed the amount a government can grant.’
    • ‘Agricultural policy should be shifted from price subsidies to income transfers, with these transfers turned into a national obligation, not a union one.’
    • ‘There will always be an important role for subsidies in farming, to remunerate farmers for environmental services and to assist farming in particularly marginal areas.’
    • ‘In the United States, it is often labor unions that call for tariffs and subsidies to protect unionized industries.’
    • ‘One critical issue is Indonesia's budget-draining oil subsidies - price breaks given to families and businesses when oil prices are high.’
    • ‘There was also more emphasis on industry and some of Whitaker's suggested cuts in areas such as farm price subsidies and the rural electrification programme were not implemented.’
    • ‘Some £3 billion a year goes on farming in direct subsidies, with price intervention payments accounting for more.’
    • ‘These subsidies distort commodity prices and undercut U.S. exporters in key markets around the world.’
    • ‘At the end, he argues that a good progressive conservative government could cut useless measures like corporate subsidies, farm subsidies, and needless tariffs.’
    • ‘But it is clear that encouraging commodity production with price subsidies has not kept people in rural areas.’
    • ‘The foot-and-mouth epidemic gave us a glimpse of the trauma that agriculture will go through in the next decade as incomes fall, subsidies go and farming, as an industry, shrinks further.’
    • ‘Brazil warns there may be no advance on other issues if the developed nations do not accept changes in policies to grant large subsidies to their farmers.’
    1. 1.1 A sum of money granted to support an arts organization or other undertaking held to be in the public interest.
      • ‘Within a regime of cuts in the post-war Welfare State, the withdrawal of state subsidies and support, and low public expenditure.’
      • ‘To support ticket subsidies for school children and senior citizens to attend area performances and exhibitions.’
      • ‘Public subsidy will total £2.43 bn by the end of the franchise, which will cover more than 2,000 services.’
      • ‘In trying to make their public subsidy of culture more responsive to modern cultural tastes, the current government gets accused of ‘plebeianism’.’
      • ‘Therefore, such operations cannot affect the debit side of the national budget, which is made up of allocations for social benefits, state subsidies, and support payments.’
      • ‘The fact is that private and corporate money has overtaken public subsidy in festival funding.’
      • ‘I'm all for bribing people out of their cars and into public transport by subsidies and freebies, to lessen the road congestion.’
      • ‘Similarly, low-income areas often are eligible for public subsidies from regional policy funds or urban policy schemes.’
      • ‘However, the ‘funds’ shouldn't be fully understood as public subsidies because the Film Council does expect a return on its investment.’
      • ‘Railtrack has been forced to honour its responsibilities to the rail user - sort of - but only after veiled threats that government might take an equity stake in return for public subsidies.’
      • ‘And the money will come from higher public subsidies and fares.’
      • ‘His point is that tuition can rise as a result of either an increase in cost or a decline in third-party support, either private or public subsidies.’
      • ‘For everything else they are reducing the public subsidy.’
      • ‘They contend that corporations are taking advantage of public resources and subsidies while driving up the price of water and cutting off the poorest users.’
      • ‘He said it might be hard for the rail industry to find more money because its public subsidy had risen from £950m in 1990 to £3.8bn this year.’
      • ‘The centre also manages support programmes for people with disabilities as well as providing direct financial support and childcare subsidies.’
      • ‘Make the payment of public transport subsidies dependent on safe, efficient and timely service.’
      • ‘Use public transport - and press for public subsidies for it.’
      • ‘Enticed by public subsidies, Scotland is now playing host to a ‘wind rush’ with developers preparing to build a chain of up to 70 wind farms across the country.’
      • ‘Some projects rely on public subsidies to fund even their core activities.’
      funds, assets, money, capital, resources, cash, wealth, reserves, wherewithal, revenue, income, stock
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    2. 1.2 A grant or contribution of money.
      • ‘Members also have access to mortgage subsidies through the Defence Home Owners Scheme.’
      • ‘We will bridge this, not by words but by deeds; not by subsidies but from investment; not by rhetoric but by technology.’
      • ‘Other plans include giving subsidies to tighten security and equip post offices with computers so that customers can surf the internet.’
      • ‘Immigrants could buy 25 acre parcels at very liberal mortgage rates and various subsidies were also available.’
      • ‘Other benefits included mortgage subsidies, helping veterans to buy homes with relative ease.’
      grant, allowance, endowment, contribution, donation, bursary, gift, present, investment, bestowal, benefaction, allocation, allotment, handout
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  • 2historical A parliamentary grant to the sovereign for state needs.

    • ‘In return for granting subsidies, Parliament demanded ever new powers from the monarchy.’
    • ‘Thirdly, the cost of the war was unprecedented in English history: even with parliamentary subsidies, it could only be met by borrowing and by sales of Crown lands.’
    • ‘Thus, although the debts of the Irish administration were a drop in the ocean of English public finance, they had to be met by Irish parliamentary subsidies.’
    1. 2.1 A tax levied on a particular occasion.
      • ‘First, he believed that, given how high rents were in many communities, the lower-middle class deserved some tax subsidies.’
      • ‘The EU is also set to levy up to $4bn of tariff increases on US products in a dispute over tax subsidies to the foreign sales of US companies.’
      • ‘We are headed toward completely socialized medicine - and, if we take indirect tax subsidies into account, we're already halfway there.’
      • ‘The GOP has rejected that approach as too bureaucratic and pushed for an alternative that would give individuals tax credits and other subsidies to buy their own insurance.’
      • ‘Many expatriate pensioners do not realise housing and council tax subsidies and disability costs are not payable outside the UK.’


Late Middle English: from Anglo-Norman French subsidie, from Latin subsidium ‘assistance’.