- 1: placed in or occupying a lower class, rank, or position : inferior <a subordinate officer>
- 2: submissive to or controlled by authority
- 3 : of, relating to, or constituting a clause that functions as a noun, adjective, or adverb
- 1: one who stands in order or rank below another : one that is subordinate
- Transitive verb
- 1: to make subject or subservient
- 2: to treat as of less value or importance <stylist … whose crystalline prose subordinates content to form
A ranking is a relationship between a set of items such that, for any two items, the first is either 'ranked higher than', 'ranked lower than' or 'ranked equal to' the second. In mathematics, this is known as a weak order or total preorder of objects. It is not necessarily a total order of objects because two different objects can have the same ranking. The rankings themselves are totally ordered. For example, materials are totally preordered by hardness, while degrees of hardness are totally ordered.
By reducing detailed measures to a sequence of ordinal numbers, rankings make it possible to evaluate complex information according to certain criteria. Thus, for example, an Internet search engine may rank the pages it finds according to an estimation of their relevance, making it possible for the user quickly to select the pages they are likely to want to see.