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 The currency is being designed to be untethered from the global financial system, potentially giving China a new tool to subvert the dominance of the U.S.-dollar and engage internationally on its own financial terms. Fortune, 8 Apr. 2021 What’s interesting to track are the ways that these attempts to subvert the genre — to be subversive, even — can often fall into some of the same, unsatisfying traps, or even go so far to invent new ones. K. Austin Collins, Rolling Stone, 27 Mar. 2021 The civic unrest of 2020, ignited by calls for racial justice, mutated into mobs storming the U. S. Capitol only two weeks ago fueled by a desire to subvert the Constitution. Washington Post, 20 Jan. 2021 To be clear, there has been no evidence of widespread fraud and Trump has been seeking to subvert the will of the voters. Author: Nomaan Merchant, Alanna Durkin Richer, Anchorage Daily News, 11 Dec. 2020 With court challenges pursued by the president's lawyers proving unsuccessful so far, the president and his allies have stepped up other efforts to subvert the election. Torey Van Oot Star Tribune, Star Tribune, 20 Nov. 2020 But the microstructures that researchers discovered on the feathers of male tanagers subvert this evolutionary logic. Alex Fox, Smithsonian Magazine, 5 May 2021 Slip into this neutral Simon Miller style, a machine-washable set that mimics Ms. Moore’s, then subvert its minimalism with those colorful sandals and the splashy red bag that have been gathering dust in your closet for two years now. Katharine K. Zarrella, WSJ, 24 Apr. 2021 In December, Walker tweeted a video supporting Trump's effort to overturn his loss and subvert the will of the electorate. Alex Rogers, CNN, 26 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

Time Traveler

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

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Last Updated

12 Jun 2021

Cite this Entry

“Subvert.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 15 Jun. 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


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