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From Biology-Online Dictionary
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1. (Science: prefix) A prefix signifying under, below, beneath, and hence often, in an inferior position or degree, in an imperfect or partial state, as in subscribe, substruct, subserve, subject, subordinate, subacid, subastringent, subgranular, suborn. Sub- in latin compounds often becomes sum- before m, sur before r, and regularly becomes suc-, suf-, sug-, and sup- before c, f, g, and p respectively. Before c, p, and t it sometimes takes form sus- (by the dropping of b from a collateral form, subs-).

2. (Science: chemistry) A prefix denoting that the ingredient (of a compound) signified by the term to which it is prefixed,is present in only a small proportion, or less than the normal amount; as, subsulphide, suboxide, etc. Prefixed to the name of a salt it is equivalent to basic; as, subacetate or basic acetate.

Origin: L. Sub under, below; akin to Gr, Skr. Upa to, on, under, over. Cf. Hypo-, Super-.