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Borrowed from Latin subscrībere. Compare its Germanic equivalent underwrite.


  • (US) IPA(key): /səbˈskɹaɪb/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -aɪb


subscribe (third-person singular simple present subscribes, present participle subscribing, simple past and past participle subscribed)

  1. (ergative) To sign up to have copies of a publication, such as a newspaper or a magazine, delivered for a period of time.
    Would you like to subscribe or subscribe a friend to our new magazine, Lexicography Illustrated?
  2. To pay for the provision of a service, such as Internet access or a cell phone plan.
  3. To believe or agree with a theory or an idea.
    I don’t subscribe to that theory.
  4. To pay money to be a member of an organization.
  5. (intransitive) To contribute or promise to contribute money to a common fund.
    • 1913, Theodore Roosevelt, Autobiography:
      [] under no circumstances could I ever again be nominated for any public office, as no corporation would subscribe to a campaign fund if I was on the ticket, and that they would subscribe most heavily to beat me;
  6. (transitive) To promise to give, by writing one's name with the amount.
    Each man subscribed ten dollars.
  7. (business and finance) To agree to buy shares in a company.
    • 1776, Adam Smith, The Wealth of Nations:
      The capital which had been subscribed to this bank, at two different subscriptions, amounted to one hundred and sixty thousand pounds, of which eighty per cent only was paid up.
  8. (transitive) To sign; to mark with one's signature as a token of consent or attestation.
    Parties subscribe a covenant or contract; a man subscribes a bond.
    Officers subscribe their official acts, and secretaries and clerks subscribe copies or records.
    • Milman
      All the bishops subscribed the sentence.
  9. (archaic) To write (one’s name) at the bottom of a document; to sign (one's name).
    • Sir Thomas More
      [They] subscribed their names under them.
  10. (obsolete) To sign away; to yield; to surrender.
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Shakespeare to this entry?)
  11. (obsolete) To yield; to admit to being inferior or in the wrong.
  12. (obsolete, transitive) To declare over one's signature; to publish.
    • Shakespeare
      I will subscribe him a coward.

Derived termsEdit






  1. Informal second-person singular () affirmative imperative form of subscribir.
  2. Formal second-person singular (usted) present indicative form of subscribir.
  3. Third-person singular (él, ella, also used with usted?) present indicative form of subscribir.