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 While ever a state of feeling such as this shall universally, or even very generally, prevail throughout the nation, vain will be every effort, and fruitless every attempt, to subvert our national freedom. Star Tribune, "Abraham Lincoln: America's greatest danger is the 'mobocratic spirit'," 28 Aug. 2020 Sandoval’s goal was to subvert audiences’ expectations. Anne Cohen,, "With Lingua Franca On Netflix, Isabel Sandoval Is Revolutionizing Trans Representation On-Screen," 26 Aug. 2020 Meanwhile, Washington needs to push back against Putin’s efforts to divide NATO and subvert the U.S. political system. Editorial Bloomberg Opinion, Star Tribune, "As Russia's misdeeds mount, U.S. doesn't have a coherent response," 25 Aug. 2020 As quickly as viruses learn to recognise and subvert such proteins, hosts must learn to modify them. The Economist, "The viral universe Viruses have big impacts on ecology and evolution as well as human health," 20 Aug. 2020 Napoleon, Bolívar, and Louverture each used their charismatic reputations to subvert constitutions and become authoritarians. Ian Beacock, The New Republic, "Can Democracy Handle Charisma?," 17 Aug. 2020 Figure out the right way to subvert those expectations and then also to deliver. Aaron Couch, The Hollywood Reporter, "How 'The Batman' and 'Project Power' Scribe Mattson Tomlin Became One of Hollywood’s Busiest Screenwriters," 14 Aug. 2020 On two occasions misfortune has conspired to subvert the Brazilian prodigy's chances of grabbing the competition by the scruff of the neck in the red and blue colors of Paris Saint-Germain. Aleks Klosok, CNN, "Why it's now or never in Neymar's quest for European glory," 11 Aug. 2020 As Gareth Harris reports for the Art Newspaper, British artist Hew Locke has argued that the statue should be displayed on its side to subvert its visual power. Nora Mcgreevy, Smithsonian Magazine, "British Protesters Throw Statue of Slave Trader Into Bristol Harbor," 10 June 2020

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

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for subvert

Last Updated

15 Sep 2020

Cite this Entry

“Subvert.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 21 Sep. 2020.

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More Definitions for subvert


How to pronounce subvert (audio)

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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