subvert

verb
sub·​vert | \ səb-ˈvərt How to pronounce subvert (audio) \
subverted; subverting; subverts

Definition of subvert

transitive verb

1 : to overturn or overthrow from the foundation : ruin
2 : to pervert or corrupt by an undermining of morals, allegiance, or faith

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from subvert

subverter noun

Examples of subvert in a Sentence

They conspired to subvert the government. trying to subvert the electoral process
Recent Examples on the Web Every accepted idea about beauty is being subverted. National Geographic, "The idea of beauty is always shifting. Today, it’s more inclusive than ever.," 7 Jan. 2020 Denying Congress’s power to conduct an impeachment inquiry subverts the foundation of democratic government. Noah Feldman, The New York Review of Books, "Is Trump Above the Law?," 19 Dec. 2019 If the Almighty had decided that someone would be smitten by smallpox, then any attempt to subvert this divine intention was blasphemy. The Economist, "The original anti-vaxxers," 30 Aug. 2019 Nixon, who resigned before he could be impeached, covered up his campaign’s efforts to subvert democracy — much like Trump. Noah Feldman, Twin Cities, "Noah Feldman: Trump impeachment is a shot in the arm for the Constitution," 20 Dec. 2019 It’s been amplified in our digital age as a weapon of fearmongers, mob-baiters and election-meddlers to widen social fissures, subvert democracy and boost authoritarian regimes. Shelly Banjo | Bloomberg, Washington Post, "Facebook, Twitter and the Digital Disinformation Mess," 3 Dec. 2019 This half-song subverts the seriousness and formality of a proper finale -- and ends the Beatles' career with a reminder that despite everything, the Beatles always walked around with a knowing smirk. Joe Lynch, Billboard, "The Beatles' Abbey Road Turns 50: Classic Track-By-Track Review," 26 Sep. 2019 Disinformation was just the first stage of an evolving trend of using information to subvert democracy, confuse rival states, define the narrative and control public opinion. Robert Hackett, Fortune, "Even After Capital One’s Breach, Don’t Doubt the Cloud—Cyber Saturday," 24 Aug. 2019 Americans were told that the president was a traitor who had colluded with Vladimir Putin to subvert U.S. democracy. Marc A. Thiessen, The Mercury News, "Thiessen: Mueller’s testimony is good news for Trump and Pelosi," 25 July 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'subvert.' 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 subvert

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for subvert

Middle English, from Anglo-French subvertir, from Latin subvertere, literally, to turn from beneath, from sub- + vertere to turn — more at worth

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about subvert

Time Traveler for subvert

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Statistics for subvert

Last Updated

13 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Subvert.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/subvert. Accessed 24 January 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for subvert

subvert

verb
How to pronounce subvert (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of subvert

formal
: to secretly try to ruin or destroy a government, political system, etc.
: to make (something) weaker or less effective

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on subvert

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for subvert

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with subvert

Spanish Central: Translation of subvert

Nglish: Translation of subvert for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of subvert for Arabic Speakers

Comments on subvert

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

WORD OF THE DAY

a feeling of well-being or elation

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Intact Latin Quiz

  • roman tablet
  • What did focus mean in Latin?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Syn City

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!