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

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 For Lam's successor, Beijing opted for Lee, a former top police official and staunch advocate of the new National Security Law that outlaws subversion, secession, terrorism and collusion with foreign forces. Arkansas Online, 8 May 2022 The legislation punishes subversion, secession, collusion with foreign forces and terrorism with up to life imprisonment. NBC News, 15 Mar. 2022 Hong Kong’s authorities have used the national security law -- which bars subversion, secession, terrorism and collusion with foreign forces -- to arrest dozens of opposition politicians, activists, journalists and lawyers. Iain Marlow, Bloomberg.com, 9 Feb. 2022 Anyone can be accused of secession, subversion and collusion with foreign forces, and could face a maximum of life imprisonment. Washington Post, 20 Apr. 2022 That has ushered considerations of secession, terrorism, subversion and collusion with foreign forces into all corners of Hong Kong society. Vivienne Chow, Variety, 6 Apr. 2022 This all smacks of grift, the selling of access and political influence, and the subversion of public trust and possibly American national interests. Andrew C. Mccarthy, National Review, 31 Mar. 2022 Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s subversion of mainstream politics in Hungary has been a case study for aspiring populists and a cautionary tale for defenders of democracy. Zoltan Simon, Bloomberg.com, 21 Jan. 2022 Since Hollywood’s beginning, antisemites have blamed Jews for everything from moral corruption to political subversion, according to Neal Gabler’s volume on the moguls, An Empire of Their Own. Gary Baum, The Hollywood Reporter, 19 Mar. 2022 See More

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.

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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Dictionary Entries Near subversion

sub verbo

subversion

subversivism

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Statistics for subversion

Last Updated

18 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Subversion.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/subversion. Accessed 22 May. 2022.

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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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