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

Some institutions have maintained their independence, but Mr Orban’s government seems intent on subverting them. The Economist, "How Viktor Orban hollowed out Hungary’s democracy," 29 Aug. 2019 This led a segment of the American elite to regard these culturally isolated French speakers as a potential threat to the territorial integrity of the United States—pawns, conspiracy theorists said, in a Catholic plot to subvert the U.S. Northeast. David Vernette, Smithsonian, "When an Influx of French-Canadian Immigrants Struck Fear Into Americans," 21 Aug. 2019 Symbols and messaging have become ever-more coded in order to subvert bans in ways that are both playful, humorous and fun for designers and consumers. La'nita Johnson, Quartz, "The far right is really good at tricking you into giving it free advertising," 30 July 2019 Harriet Mullaney, Denver Shouldn’t the president of the United States be seeking ways to support Supreme Court decisions rather than a way to subvert them? Dp Opinion, The Denver Post, "Letters: Census questions and answers; Spotlight on reparations; Omar should respect the country she worked so hard to serve (7/12/19)," 12 July 2019 The writer employs cliches and subverts them easily. Ephrat Livni, Quartzy, "In an arresting new thriller, no one is innocent, including readers," 7 July 2019 Jonny Banger and his crew are playing with the language of fashion—subverting it, too—as part of a broader cultural conversation that takes in sustainability, social justice, class, and hedonism. Nicole Phelps, Vogue, "Our Very Favorite Moments From the Fall 2019 Collections," 12 Mar. 2019 China wields considerable influence over North Korea as its main trading partner and has publicly supported sanctions against Pyongyang while at the same time, on occasion, subverting them. Los Angeles Times, "North Korea is a no-show at Asian summit, snubbing Trump administration again," 4 Aug. 2019 Leave it to the Dutch to once again subvert the natural order of things. Chase Purdy, Quartz, "The Dutch are subverting nature again—with floating dairy farms," 22 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.

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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

22 Sep 2019

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Time Traveler for subvert

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

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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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More from Merriam-Webster on subvert

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with subvert

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for subvert

Spanish Central: Translation of subvert

Nglish: Translation of subvert for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of subvert for Arabic Speakers

Comments on subvert

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miscellaneous remnants or debris

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