subversion

noun
sub·ver·sion | \səb-ˈvər-zhən, -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, -shə- \ adjective
subversive \səb-ˈvər-siv, -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

Meanwhile, a court sentenced a prominent dissident, Qin Yongmin, to 13 years in prison for subversion. The Economist, "Politics this week," 12 July 2018 China sentenced Liu Xiaobo in 2009 to 11 years' imprisonment on charges of inciting subversion of state power. Fox News, "The Latest: Rights groups cautiously hail Liu Xia departure," 10 July 2018 He had been sentenced to 11 years in prison on charges of inciting subversion of state power. Deutsche Welle, USA TODAY, "Liu Xia, wife of late jailed Nobel Peace Prize winner Liu Xiaobo, leaves China," 10 July 2018 So where did this latest fashion subversion come from? Samuel Hine, GQ, "The Daring New Trend in Pants Is…Shorts," 2 July 2018 Presumably this resulted from Catholic subversion of public education. Longreads, "Oregon’s Racist Past," 12 July 2018 In other words, the very beginning of the Bible represents a literary subversion of the binary trope Peterson insists has defined human culture. Tara Isabella Burton, Vox, "The religious hunger that drives Jordan Peterson’s fandom," 1 June 2018 The subversion of America’s immigration laws is a phenomenon that Americans of all races can recognize as a legitimate policy problem. Eric Leivtz, Daily Intelligencer, "For Democrats, Immigration Is a Political Problem Without a Policy Solution," 2 July 2018 Not to mention, a bleached set of brows that added a hint of subversion. Lauren Valenti, Vogue, "This Model Chopped Off 3 Feet Hair for the Miu Miu Runway—and She’s Almost Unrecognizable," 1 July 2018

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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Last Updated

21 Sep 2018

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

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More Definitions for subversion

subversion

noun
sub·ver·sion | \səb-ˈvər-zhən \

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 \ adjective
subversive \-ˈvər-siv \ adjective or noun
subversively adverb
subversiveness noun

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