Definition of subaltern noun from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary



BrE BrE//ˈsʌbltən//
; NAmE NAmE//səˈbɔːltərn//
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any officer in the British army who is lower in rank than a captain Word Origin late 16th cent. (as an adjective): from late Latin subalternus, from Latin sub- ‘next below’ + alternus ‘every other’.