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

transitive verb

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

Example Sentences

They conspired to subvert the government. trying to subvert the electoral process
Recent Examples on the Web Buy Now on End Clothing: $650 Best Workwear Jacket for Spring Corduroy and Leather Trimmed Cotton Canvas Jacket Leave it to Loewe to subvert a ubiquitous workwear jacket. Isaiah Freeman-schub, Robb Report, 8 Mar. 2023 Despite being overridden by her town council (democratically, unlike what Congress is now doing), Bowser has pleaded with Congress not to subvert D.C.’s autonomy. Prem Thakker, The New Republic, 6 Mar. 2023 Honor the results of our elections, not subvert the will of the people. Abc News, ABC News, 8 Feb. 2023 If that sounds a bit too formulaic, watching Winslow subvert the conventions of an old literary form is half the thrill of this novel. Ron Charles, Washington Post, 23 Jan. 2023 The perennial debate is — does the right to shelter actually help subvert what people really need? Definition’, Curbed, 27 Sep. 2022 But attempts to do this subvert one basic premise for joining together in legal union: peaceful, cooperative co-existence among states, as well as between them and the federal government. Time, 23 Sep. 2022 Special Counsel Jack Smith is overseeing probes into Trump's efforts to subvert the 2020 election and into his retention of classified documents. Taylor Wilson, USA TODAY, 10 Feb. 2023 Justice Department investigators probing efforts to subvert the 2020 presidential election, The New York Times reported Wednesday. Rafi Schwartz, The Week, 23 Nov. 2022 See More

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.

Word History


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

First Known Use

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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

Dictionary Entries Near subvert

Cite this Entry

“Subvert.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 30 Mar. 2023.

Kids Definition


sub·​vert səb-ˈvərt How to pronounce subvert (audio)
: to overturn or overthrow from the foundation
: to undermine the morals, allegiance, or faith of : corrupt
subverter noun

More from Merriam-Webster on subvert

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