subversion

noun
sub·​ver·​sion | \ səb-ˈvər-zhən How to pronounce subversion (audio) , -shən \

Definition of subversion

1 : the act of subverting : the state of being subverted especially : a systematic attempt to overthrow or undermine a government or political system by persons working secretly from within
2 obsolete : a cause of overthrow or destruction

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Other Words from subversion

subversionary \ səb-​ˈvər-​zhə-​ˌner-​ē How to pronounce subversion (audio) , -​shə-​ \ adjective
subversive \ səb-​ˈvər-​siv How to pronounce subversion (audio) , -​ziv \ adjective or noun
subversively adverb
subversiveness noun

Did You Know?

Subversion is literally the "turning over" of something. In the 1950s and '60s, many people worried about communist subversion of the U.S. government, though they often saw subversive activities where none existed. Nondemocratic governments often claim that anyone who disagrees with them or joins a demonstration is a subversive. But subversion isn't always quite so serious a matter; when words like weekend, sandwich, job, *and *camping started being used by the French, for example, some of them began claiming that America was subverting their language.

Examples of subversion in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web His open appeal to guile and his subversion of Christian norms were regarded as so abhorrent that, in 1559, the work would be listed in the Catholic Church’s Index of Prohibited Books. National Geographic, "Machiavelli exposed the brutal truth about politics in a 'tell-all' treatise," 22 Oct. 2020 Trump’s trade sanctions against Iran for its subversion and use of terrorism has revitalized our traditional alliances in the Middle East. Steve Wenzel, Star Tribune, "Editorial Counterpoint: Why Donald Trump is the president we need," 12 Oct. 2020 The security law criminalizes acts of subversion, secession, terrorism and collusion with foreign powers to intervene in the city’s affairs. Fox News, "Hong Kong ISP blocks access to pro-democracy website under national security law," 14 Jan. 2021 Inside the Hong Kong protests (Part 1) Dec. 29, 202008:56 The security law criminalizes acts of subversion, secession, terrorism and collusion with foreign powers to intervene in the city’s affairs. NBC News, "Dozens of Hong Kong pro-democracy figures, including U.S. lawyer, arrested," 6 Jan. 2021 The law criminalizes acts of subversion, secession, terrorism, and collusion with foreign forces, and the imprecise language of the law has been used by pro-China authorities to crack down on dissidents in the city. Tyler Van Dyke, Washington Examiner, "Pro-democracy Hong Kong media mogul Jimmy Lai denied bail," 13 Dec. 2020 Her subversion of traditional gender roles extended to her fashion choices, too. Rosa Cartagena, Smithsonian Magazine, "In Puerto Rico, Women Won the Vote in a Bittersweet Game of Colonial Politics," 2 Nov. 2020 Beijing says that the law, which may to go into effect as early as August, will target only select individuals in Hong Kong who threaten China’s national security via subversion, secession, terrorism or foreign interference. Grady Mcgregor, Fortune, "‘Cautionary tale:’ Mike Pompeo says HSBC saga shows what happens when business supports Beijing," 11 June 2020 His final section posits that the Old Testament was the foundation of all subversion, a blueprint for Jews to gain global dominance. New York Times, "A Far-Right Terrorism Suspect With a Refugee Disguise: The Tale of Franco A.," 29 Dec. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'subversion.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of subversion

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for subversion

Middle English, from Anglo-French, from Late Latin subversion-, subversio, from Latin subvertere

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Time Traveler for subversion

Time Traveler

The first known use of subversion was in the 14th century

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Statistics for subversion

Last Updated

11 Feb 2021

Cite this Entry

“Subversion.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/subversion. Accessed 26 Feb. 2021.

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More Definitions for subversion

subversion

noun
sub·​ver·​sion | \ səb-ˈvər-zhən How to pronounce subversion (audio) \

Legal Definition of subversion

: a systematic attempt to overthrow or undermine a government or political system by persons working from within also : the crime of committing acts in furtherance of such an attempt

Other Words from subversion

subversionary \ -​zhə-​ˌner-​ē How to pronounce subversion (audio) \ adjective
subversive \ -​ˈvər-​siv How to pronounce subversion (audio) \ adjective or noun
subversively adverb
subversiveness noun

More from Merriam-Webster on subversion

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for subversion

Nglish: Translation of subversion for Spanish Speakers

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