Sub vs Bottom - What's the difference?

sub | bottom |

In bdsm|lang=en terms the difference between sub and bottom

is that sub is (bdsm) to take a submissive role while bottom is (bdsm) a submissive in sadomasochistic sexual activity.

As nouns the difference between sub and bottom

is that sub is a submarine while bottom is the lowest part from the uppermost part, in either of these senses:.

As verbs the difference between sub and bottom

is that sub is (us|informal) to substitute for or sub can be to coat with a layer of adhering material; to planarize by means of such a coating while bottom is to fall to the lowest point.

As a preposition sub

is under.

As an adjective bottom is

the lowest or last place or position.



Etymology 1

Shortened form of any of various words beginning sub- , such as submarine, subroutine, substitute, subscription. The sandwich is so called because the bun's cylindrical shape resembles the shape of a submarine.


(en noun)
  • A submarine.
  • A submarine sandwich—a sandwich made on a long bun.
  • We can get subs at that deli.
  • (US, informal) A substitute.
  • With the score 4 to 1, they brought in subs .
    She worked as a sub until she got her teaching certificate.
  • (British, informal) A substitute in a football (soccer) game: someone who comes on in place of another player part way through the game.
  • * 1930 , Boy's Live, Philip Scruggs, There Can Be Victory , page 20
  • At any other school you would be playing varsity, and Wallace has you pigeon-holed on the subs'." "Maybe he has his reasons," Jim replied. "And he hasn't pigeon-holed me on the ' subs yet — not this season.
  • (British, informal, often in plural) Short for subscription: a payment made for membership of a club, etc.
  • (informal) A submissive in BDSM practices.
  • * 2004 , Paul Baker, Fantabulosa: A Dictionary of Polari and Gay Slang?
  • ...roleplay where a sub or bottom takes care of a top's bodily and hygiene needs...
  • * 2007 , Laurell K Hamilton, The Harlequin
  • "It means that I'm both a sub and a dom." "Submissive and dominant," I said. He nodded.
  • * 2008 , Lannie Rose, How to Change Your Sex
  • Typically a dom and a sub have a more or less standard routine that they like to go through all the time.
  • (Internet, informal) A subtitle.
  • I've just noticed a mistake in the subs for this film.
  • (computing, programming) A subroutine (sometimes one that does not return a value, as distinguished from a function, which does).
  • * 2002 , Nathan Patwardhan, Ellen Siever, Stephen Spainhour, Perl in a nutshell
  • The default accessor can be overridden by declaring a sub of the same name in the package.
  • * 2004 , P. K. McBride, Introductory Visual Basic.NET (page 49)
  • So far, all the subs and functions that we have used have been those built into the system, or those written to handle events from controls...
  • (colloquial, dated) A subordinate.
  • (colloquial, dated) A subaltern.
  • Synonyms
    * (submarine sandwich) grinder, hoagie
    * (submarine sandwich) sandwich


  • (US, informal) To substitute for.
  • (US, informal) To work as a substitute teacher, especially in primary and secondary education.
  • (British, informal, football) To replace (a player) with a substitute.
  • He never really made a contribution to the match, so it was no surprise when he was subbed at half time.
  • (British, informal, football) Less commonly, and often as sub on , to bring on (a player) as a substitute.
  • ''He was subbed on half way through the second half, and scored within minutes.
  • (British) To perform the work of a subeditor or copy editor; to subedit.
  • (UK, slang, transitive) To lend.
  • * 2011 , Rowland Rivron, What the F*** Did I Do Last Night?
  • I kept up the pleasantries as we were drying our hands and, realizing I didn't have any change for the lodger, I asked him, one drummer to another like, if he could sub me a quid for the dish.
  • (slang) To subscribe.
  • (BDSM) To take a submissive role.
  • * Alicia White, Jessica's Breakdown (page 53)
  • You've never subbed before. Jessica will be expecting a man on stage that follows orders and enjoys what she's going to be doing. Do you want to be spanked? Possibly whipped?
  • * 2012 , Tiffany Reisz, Little Red Riding Crop
  • Wasn't like she'd never subbed before. She'd been a sub longer than she'd been a Dominatrix–ten years she'd spent in a collar.

    Etymology 2

    From (etyl) sub.


    (English prepositions)
  • Under.
  • Verb

  • To coat with a layer of adhering material; to planarize by means of such a coating.
  • (microscopy) To prepare (a slide) with an layer of transparent substance to support and/or fix the sample.
  • * 1997 , Marina A. Lynch, S. M. O'Mara (editors), Ali D. Hames, D. Rickwood (series editors), Neuroscience Labfax , page 166,
  • Ensure that gloves are worn when handling subbed' slides. Although the following protocol describes '''subbing with gelatin, slides may also be coated with either 3-(triethoxysilyl-)propylamine (TESPA) or poly-L-lysine for ''in situ hybridization.

    See also

    * switch (one who is willing to take either a sadistic or a masochistic role)


    * * * ----




  • The lowest part from the uppermost part, in either of these senses:
  • # (rfc-sense) The part furthest in the direction toward which an unsupported object would fall.
  • #* Macaulay
  • barrels with the bottom knocked out
  • #* Washington Irving
  • No two chairs were alike; such high backs and low backs and leather bottoms and worsted bottoms.
  • # (rfc-sense) The part seen, or intended to be seen, nearest the edge of the visual field normally occupied by the lowest visible objects, as "footers appear at the bottoms of pages".
  • (uncountable, British, slang) Character, reliability, staying power, dignity, integrity or sound judgment.
  • lack bottom
  • (British, US) a valley, often used in place names.
  • Where shall we go for a walk? How about Ashcombe Bottom ?
  • * Stoddard
  • the bottoms and the high grounds
  • (euphemistic) The buttocks or anus.
  • (nautical) a cargo vessel, a ship.
  • * 1881 , :
  • We sail in leaky bottoms and on great and perilous waters; [...]
  • (nautical) certain parts of a vessel, particularly the cargo hold or the portion of the ship that is always underwater.
  • * Shakespeare
  • My ventures are not in one bottom trusted.
  • * Bancroft
  • Not to sell the teas, but to return them to London in the same bottoms in which they were shipped.
  • (baseball) The second half of an inning, the home team's turn to bat.
  • (BDSM) A submissive in sadomasochistic sexual activity.
  • (LGBT, slang) A man penetrated or with a preference for being penetrated during homosexual intercourse.
  • (physics) A bottom quark.
  • (often, figuratively) The lowest part of a container.
  • * {{quote-news, year=2011
  • , date=December 21 , author=Helen Pidd , title=Europeans migrate south as continent drifts deeper into crisis , work=the Guardian citation , page= , passage=In Ireland, where 14.5% of the population are jobless, emigration has climbed steadily since 2008, when Lehman Brothers collapsed and the bottom fell out of the Irish housing market. In the 12 months to April this year, 40,200 Irish passport-holders left, up from 27,700 the previous year, according to the central statistics office. Irish nationals were by far the largest constituent group among emigrants, at almost 53%.}}
  • A ball or skein of thread; a cocoon.
  • * Mortimer
  • Silkworms finish their bottoms in fifteen days.
  • The bed of a body of water, as of a river, lake, or sea.
  • An abyss.
  • (Dryden)
  • (obsolete) Power of endurance.
  • a horse of a good bottom
  • (obsolete) Dregs or grounds; lees; sediment.
  • (Johnson)


    * (lowest part) base * (buttocks) arse (British, Australian, NZ''), ass, fanny (''North American ), backside, bot, bott, botty, bum, buttocks * sit upon, derriere * (BDSM) catcher * (LGBT) catcher, passive, pathic, uke (Japanese fiction) * See also * See also


    * (lowest part) top * (BDSM) top * (LGBT) active, pitcher, top, versatile


    (en verb)
  • To fall to the lowest point.
  • * John J. Murphy, Intermarket Analysis: Profiting from Global Market Relationships (2004) p. 119:
  • The Dow Jones Industrial Average bottomed''' on September 24, 2001. The CRB Index '''bottomed on October 24.
  • To establish firmly; to found or justify on'' or ''upon'' something; to set on a firm footing; to set or rest ''on'' or ''upon something which provides support or authority.
  • * Atterbury
  • Action is supposed to be bottomed upon principle.
  • * South
  • those false and deceiving grounds upon which many bottom their eternal state
  • * United States. Congress. House. Committee on the Judiciary. Subcommittee on Commercial and Administrative Law, Executive Orders and Presidential Directives , (2001) p.59.
  • Moreover, the Supreme Court has held that the President must obey outstanding executive orders, even when bottomed on the Constitution, until they are revoked.
  • To rest, as upon an ultimate support; to be based or grounded.
  • * John Locke
  • Find on what foundation any proposition bottoms .
  • To reach or impinge against the bottom, so as to impede free action, as when the point of a cog strikes the bottom of a space between two other cogs, or a piston the end of a cylinder.
  • (obsolete) To wind round something, as in making a ball of thread.
  • * Shakespeare
  • As you unwind her love from him, / Lest it should ravel and be good to none, / You must provide to bottom it on me.
  • To furnish with a bottom.
  • to bottom a chair
  • To be the submissive in a BDSM relationship or roleplay.
  • To be anally penetrated in gay sex.
  • Adjective

    (en adjective)
  • The lowest or last place or position.
  • ''Those files should go on the bottom shelf.