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

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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 And yet there is a sub-section of stylish dressers who subvert the rules in more subtle ways: Enter the theme rejectors. Christian Allaire, Vogue, 7 Sep. 2021 More broadly, the Puka Michuna tribe is portrayed with an approach that aims to subvert stereotypes about Indigenous peoples. Kat Moon, Time, 3 Aug. 2021 From the outset, many men in the community worried that the female E.M.T.s were trying to subvert Orthodox Jewish gender norms by having women do work typically performed by men. New York Times, 19 Apr. 2021 This allows the Communist Party to ensure that any business operating in China, even a private and market-driven business, one generally nimble and responsive to profit motives, does not subvert the Communist Party’s rule. Joseph W. Sullivan, National Review, 11 Aug. 2021 Becerra may be more comfortable addressing legal issues that subvert the optimal functioning of the healthcare marketplace as a whole. Joshua Cohen, Forbes, 9 Apr. 2021 And the downside of a deal with not enough strings attached, in the European view, is that Britain could eventually subvert E.U. regulations and flood the continent’s market with cheaper products that don’t meet E.U. rules. Washington Post, 9 Dec. 2020 The question now is where the GOP leadership will stand as the United States tries to come to terms with what committee chair Bennie Thompson called an ongoing effort to subvert democracy. Frida Ghitis, CNN, 27 July 2021 Nevada is among the states where former Trump sought to subvert results from the November 2020 election with lawsuits and conspiracy theories. Michelle L. Price, Star Tribune, 11 Apr. 2021

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.

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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

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Time Traveler for subvert

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

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Last Updated

16 Sep 2021

Cite this Entry

“Subvert.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 23 Sep. 2021.

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More Definitions for subvert



English Language Learners Definition of subvert

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

More from Merriam-Webster on subvert

Nglish: Translation of subvert for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of subvert for Arabic Speakers


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