subversion

noun

sub·​ver·​sion səb-ˈvər-zhən How to pronounce subversion (audio)
-shən
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
subversionary adjective
subversive 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 By John Fritze | CNN Special counsel Jack Smith pressed the Supreme Court on Wednesday to let stand a lower court ruling that denied former President Donald Trump immunity from prosecution, urging the justices to allow the trial in his election subversion case to begin quickly. Cnn.com Wire Service, The Mercury News, 14 Feb. 2024 While the decision was quick by the standards of a normal appeal, what happens next will be arguably more important in determining not only when a trial on the election subversion charges will take place, but also on the timing of Mr. Trump’s three other criminal trials. Charlie Savage, New York Times, 6 Feb. 2024 There are the fraud cases, the election subversion, the hush money, the improper handling of classified documents, and the ballot challenges. Emma Hinchliffe, Fortune, 29 Jan. 2024 Lawyers and staff employed by Willis’s office met with staffers who worked on the committee in mid-April of 2022 amid a special grand jury investigation into Trump’s election subversion efforts in the Georgia county, according to a previously unreported meeting shared by Politico. Kaelan Deese, Washington Examiner, 11 Jan. 2024 That trial has nominally been set for March 25, but the court in that case has signaled deference to Trump's federal election subversion case. Spencer S. Hsu and Rachel Weiner The Washington Post, arkansasonline.com, 3 Feb. 2024 Trump hired Sadow to represent him in the Georgia election subversion case. Richard Lardner, Fortune, 2 Feb. 2024 Willis indicted former President Donald Trump and 18 co-defendants in a 2020 election subversion case. Alta Spells, CNN, 30 Jan. 2024 In the eyes of the movie’s naysayers, there’s an insurmountable contradiction at play here: For all the imaginative density of Gerwig’s pretty-in-pink world building, how much artistic worth — or feminist subversion — can there really be in what amounts to a feature-length toy commercial? Justin Chang, Los Angeles Times, 24 Jan. 2024 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'subversion.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

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

First Known Use

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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

Dictionary Entries Near subversion

Cite this Entry

“Subversion.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/subversion. Accessed 3 Mar. 2024.

Kids Definition

subversion

noun
sub·​ver·​sion səb-ˈvər-zhən How to pronounce subversion (audio)
: the act of overthrowing : the state of being overthrown
especially : an attempt to overthrow or undermine a government or political system by persons working secretly within the country involved
subversive adjective or noun
subversively adverb

Legal Definition

subversion

noun
sub·​ver·​sion səb-ˈvər-zhən How to pronounce subversion (audio)
: 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
subversionary adjective
subversive adjective or noun
subversively adverb
subversiveness noun

More from Merriam-Webster on subversion

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