Class C is a subclass of parent class P if and only if every instance of C is also an instance of P. A class may have multiple superclasses and subclasses. Subclass-of is transitive: if (subclass-of C1 C2) and (subclass-of C2 C3) then (subclass-of C1 C3).
Object-centered systems sometimes distinguish between a subclass-of relationship that is asserted and one that is inferred. For example, (subclass-of C1 C3) might be inferred from asserting (subclass-of C1 C2) and (subclass-of C2 C3). The functional interfaces to such systems might call the asserted form something like `parents' and the inferred form `ancestors'. However, both are logically identical to subclass-of; distinctions based on inference procedures and the current state of the knowledge base are not captured in this ontology.
(<=> (Subclass-Of ?Child-Class ?Parent-Class) (And (Class ?Parent-Class) (Class ?Child-Class) (Forall (?Instance) (=> (Instance-Of ?Instance ?Child-Class) (Instance-Of ?Instance ?Parent-Class)))))
In the KL-ONE literature, subclass relationships are also called subsumption relationships and ISA is sometimes used for subclass-of.
Because the latter are ambiguous about the order of their arguments. We are following the naming convention that a binary relationship is read as an english sentence `Domain-element Relation-name Range-value'. Thus, `person subclass-of animal' rather than `person superclass animal'.