An order issued under the authority of a court or other governmental body, commanding a person to appear and give testimony or to release certain evidence.
tr.v. sub·poe·naed, sub·poe·na·ing, sub·poe·nas
To serve or summon with such an order.
[Middle English suppena, from Medieval Latin sub poenā, under a penalty (from the opening words of the writ) : Latin sub, under; see SUB– + Latin poenā, ablative of poena, penalty; see kwei-1 in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2018 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.