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

Keep scrolling for more

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 Hence, this makes the entire boot process vulnerable to subversion of the BIOS, whether that can happen through an unprotected update process or simple hardware attacks using SPI flash memory replacement or using a Dediprog. Dan Goodin, Ars Technica, "Hackers can use just-fixed Intel bugs to install malicious firmware on PCs," 14 Nov. 2020 Beijing has this year clamped down on Hong Kong's burgeoning pro-democracy movement with a punitive national security law that purports to outlaw acts of secession, subversion, terrorism and collusion with foreign forces. NBC News, "U.S. threatens Beijing with new sanctions over Hong Kong lawmaker suspensions," 12 Nov. 2020 That law, which was passed earlier this year, criminalizes acts of secession, subversion, terrorism, and collusion with foreign forces and allows offenders to be punished with sentences of up to life in prison. Haley Victory Smith, Washington Examiner, "Hong Kong pro-democracy legislators resign en masse after colleagues ousted," 11 Nov. 2020 Alyx operation in Italy, American designer Carter Altman brings a similar subversion to tropes of U.S. style. Vogue Runway, Vogue, "The New Names to Know From NYFW’s Spring 2021 Season," 21 Sep. 2020 Chrétien would call these demands a subversion of listening and speech. Victoria Marshall, National Review, "On Listening and the Black Lives Matter Movement," 5 Sep. 2020 In Hong Kong, many students have to contend with both the pandemic and a new national security law -- which bans subversion, secession and collusion with foreign forces. Tara John, CNN, "What you need to know about coronavirus on Friday, September 4," 4 Sep. 2020 Former Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates delivered a searing indictment of the Trump administration’s subversion of democracy and the rule of law at Tuesday night’s session of the virtual Democratic National Convention. Michael Mcgough Los Angeles Times (tns), Star Tribune, "At Democratic convention, Sally Yates cinched the case against Trump …," 19 Aug. 2020 The new security legislation imposed by Beijing in June forbids subversion, secession, terrorism and collusion with foreign powers, and gives Hong Kong authorities the ability to transfer cases to mainland courts. Shawna Kwan, Bloomberg.com, "China Moves to Prosecute 12 for Crossing Border Near Hong Kong," 30 Sep. 2020

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about subversion

Time Traveler for subversion

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Statistics for subversion

Last Updated

25 Nov 2020

Cite this Entry

“Subversion.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/subversion. Accessed 1 Dec. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

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

More from Merriam-Webster on subversion

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for subversion

Nglish: Translation of subversion for Spanish Speakers

Comments on subversion

What made you want to look up subversion? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

Test Your Vocabulary

Musical Words Quiz

  • gramophone
  • Which word describes a musical performance marked by the absence of instrumental accompaniment?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Bee Cubed

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!