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 Cheney, who is in hot water among many of her Republican peers because of her unabashed criticism of Trump's attempts to subvert the election results, immediately spoke out against him., "Liz Cheney slams Trump’s attempt to brand 2020 election ‘the Big Lie’," 3 May 2021 Another was opened in Atlanta, where the Fulton County district attorney is investigating Trump’s controversial conversations with Georgia state officials amid his unsuccessful bid to subvert the election results there. Anchorage Daily News, "Prosecutors seek financial evidence from Trump executive’s former daughter-in-law," 9 Apr. 2021 Early in the pandemic, Araújo wrote on a personal blog that globalists were seeking to use the coronavirus as a means to subvert liberal democracy and market economics in order to install communism and enslave humans. Star Tribune, "Bolsonaro forced into Cabinet shuffle, changes top diplomat," 29 Mar. 2021 Just the latest in Putin’s long campaign to subvert democracy and the rule of law. Jay Nordlinger, National Review, "A prisoner released, &c.," 12 Feb. 2021 As Pompeo spoke, the State Department instructed U.S. embassies overseas to defend the American political process even while Trump sought to subvert it. Matthew Lee, ajc, "Rejecting criticism, Pompeo says US isn't 'banana republic'," 8 Jan. 2021 In an electorate still reeling from the two-month effort to subvert the election result by Mr. Trump, and the rash of lawsuits attacking voting before and after the election, the bills in Georgia have quickly attracted national attention. New York Times, "Why the Georgia G.O.P.’s Voting Rollbacks Would Hit Black People Hard," 3 Mar. 2021 Taken together, the judges’s decisions — some short and to the point and others sweeping defenses of American democracy - have comprehensively dismantled the arguments advanced by Trump in his effort to get the courts to subvert Biden’s victory. Anchorage Daily News, "How dozens of judges across the political spectrum rejected Trump’s efforts to overturn the election," 13 Dec. 2020 But like Ling Ma and Holroyde, VanderMeer introduces all this genre fun mostly to subvert it. Noah Berlatsky, Los Angeles Times, "Review: Climate collapse comes for the spy thriller in Jeff VanderMeer’s sly genre game," 30 Mar. 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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Statistics for subvert

Last Updated

7 May 2021

Cite this Entry

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