sub·​vert | \səb-ˈvərt \
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

The indictment lays out a vivid picture of a powerful nation deploying the latest technological trickery in a secretive effort to subvert the U.S. election. Aruna Viswanatha, WSJ, "Mueller Probe Indicts 12 Russians in Hacking of DNC and Clinton Campaign," 13 July 2018 Pressure has intensified since the Justice Department charged 13 Russians and three companies in February, exposing a wide-ranging effort to subvert the election and to support the Trump campaign. Erin Kelly, USA TODAY, "Thousands of Facebook ads bought by Russians to fool U.S. voters released by Congress," 10 May 2018 But the Trump administration continually subverts our common language and our faith in our perceptions. Rhonda Garelick, The Cut, "The Jacket Heard Round the World," 22 June 2018 But Killing Eve quickly subverts the tropes established by a long line of British mystery series. Eliana Dockterman, Time, "Killing Eve Isn't Your Average Mystery Series. Here’s How It Breaks the Mold," 5 Apr. 2018 The move has drawn criticism from people who accuse the council of subverting the democratic process by ignoring the will of the voters. Maya Sweedler, WSJ, "Washington, D.C., Council Members Consider Repeal of Voter-Passed Minimum-Wage Increase," 12 July 2018 This puts a premium on the start and end of the set, and two of the highlights are satires of a certain hackneyed genre of opening and closing jokes that poke fun at convention while also subverting it. Jason Zinoman, New York Times, "A Netflix Experiment Gives Deserving Comics Their 15 Minutes," 2 July 2018 The president has already made a practice of subverting the WTO. Eric Levitz, Daily Intelligencer, "Trump Has a Bill That Would Blow Up the WTO. It’s Called the U.S. FART Act.," 2 July 2018 Ghost performed as day turned to night, an apt time slot for a band that subverts Christian imagery in an elaborate presentation that includes costumes and masks. Bill Brownlee, kansascity, "Rockfest at the Kansas Speedway draws 30,000 — a big, loud, happy family," 3 June 2018

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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Statistics for subvert

Last Updated

20 Oct 2018

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Time Traveler for subvert

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

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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

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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).


playful or foolish behavior

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