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 subversionary (audio) , -​shə-​ \ adjective
subversive \ səb-​ˈvər-​siv How to pronounce subversive (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 The lab’s reports have repeatedly accused Huawei of sloppy coding, but have so far found no evidence of deliberate subversion. The Economist, "Chinese walls? Britain takes a third way on 5G with Huawei," 28 Jan. 2020 What Trump did was a breach of his basic obligation to safeguard the American democratic process from foreign subversion. Matt Ford, The New Republic, "President* Donald Trump," 19 Dec. 2019 This Rise feels more like a retreat, a return to a zone of emotional and thematic safety from a filmmaker with a gift for packaging nostalgia as subversion. Nick Romano, EW.com, "The Rise of Skywalker reviews point to more Star Wars discourse," 18 Dec. 2019 Mr Thanathorn remains party leader and will continue to campaign noisily against the subversion of democracy. The Economist, "Future backwards A Thai opposition leader loses his seat in parliament but battles on," 21 Nov. 2019 Death Stranding once again stands as a bold subversion of expectations from a creator known best for leaning into action heroics. Kyle Orland, Ars Technica, "Death Stranding is Kojima unleashed, and it’s as weird as you’d expect," 1 Nov. 2019 The board must, however, address the impact of the subversion on the examination’s validity. San Diego Union-Tribune, "California invalidates 1,400 pharmacist license test scores," 18 Oct. 2019 Renoir’s nudes aren’t an interrogation or a subversion. Kyle Smith, National Review, "Now Renoir Is Problematic," 27 Aug. 2019 Not even a heroine as resourceful as Angela even makes a first step toward complicating, let alone solving, a situation that's too frank and too ugly even for a superhero story that prides itself on subversion. Daniel D'addario, chicagotribune.com, "TV Review: ‘Watchmen’," 20 Oct. 2019

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

9 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Subversion.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/subversion. Accessed 25 Feb. 2020.

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

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More from Merriam-Webster on subversion

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for subversion

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with subversion

Spanish Central: Translation of subversion

Nglish: Translation of subversion for Spanish Speakers

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