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 In a separate hearing Friday, prosecutors added two more charges, accusing Lai of conspiracy to commit subversion and obstructing justice. BostonGlobe.com, "Hong Kong court sentences Jimmy Lai and other pro-democracy leaders to Prison," 16 Apr. 2021 In a separate hearing on Friday, prosecutors added two more national security charges, accusing Mr. Lai of conspiracy to commit subversion and obstructing justice. New York Times, "Hong Kong Court Sentences Pro-Democracy Leaders to Prison," 16 Apr. 2021 On the last day of February, authorities charged 47 people with conspiracy to commit subversion for partaking in the unofficial primary for an election that never happened and in which many were barred from participating. Timothy Mclaughlin, The Atlantic, "Hong Kong on Trial," 22 Mar. 2021 They have been accused of crimes such as conspiracy to commit subversion by plotting to overthrow Hong Kong’s government. The Economist, "The law kicks in Hong Kong’s new security bill is being put to its biggest use yet," 6 Mar. 2021 The 47 pro-democracy politicians are accused of a conspiracy to commit subversion over an election primary last July, marking the biggest application of the national security law since it was imposed last year. Eric Cheung And Cnn Staff, CNN, "Hong Kong court grants bail to 15 of 47 pro-democracy activists in landmark national security hearing," 4 Mar. 2021 Protest slogans rang out as about 1,000 people gathered outside a Hong Kong court on Monday for the hearing of 47 democracy activists charged with conspiracy to commit subversion, as authorities intensify a crackdown on the opposition. NBC News, "Hong Kong activists chant protest slogans as crowds gather for subversion hearing," 1 Mar. 2021 Hong Kong is a step closer to being left without a democratic opposition camp as authorities brought charges against 47 activists for conspiracy to commit subversion under the national security law. Britt Clennett, ABC News, "47 Hong Kong activists and politicians charged for state subversion, most severe use of the national security law to date," 1 Mar. 2021 The Hong Kong government charged 47 people with one count of conspiracy to commit subversion in the largest crackdown on political opposition since the National Security Law was imposed on the city last year. Robert Olsen, Forbes, "Hong Kong Charges 47 Democracy Activists With Subversion Under Security Law," 28 Feb. 2021

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

6 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Subversion.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/subversion. Accessed 9 May. 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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