The adjective subdued refers to something, like a sound, that has a lowered intensity. Your loud conversation with a friend in the back of the classroom is likely to become subdued when the teacher passes out the exams.

The word subdued is related to the Latin word, subdere, which means "to subtract from." Something that is subdued has lost some of its strength or intensity. Subdued lighting might create a romantic mood at a restaurant. And a subdued child is one who is no longer having a fit. A subdued economy is probably pretty sluggish.

Definitions of subdued
  1. adjective
    restrained in style or quality
    synonyms: low-key, low-keyed
    under restraint
  2. adjective
    in a softened tone
    “a subdued whisper”
    synonyms: hushed, muted, quiet
    (of sound) relatively low in volume
  3. adjective
    quieted and brought under control
    “children were subdued and silent”
    very restrained or quiet
  4. adjective
    not brilliant or glaring
    subdued lighting”
    synonyms: soft
    emitting or reflecting very little light
  5. adjective
    lacking in light; not bright or harsh
    subdued lights and soft music”
    synonyms: dim
    devoid of or deficient in light or brightness; shadowed or black
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