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

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 To relax about taking the stage, subverting deep-seated notions about predatory audiences is key, TED organizers say. Anne Quito, Quartz at Work, "The crucial piece of advice TED gives to nervous speakers," 8 Aug. 2019 Jasper Udink ten Cate—founder of Creative Chef Studio, a Dutch practice that creates experiences around food and art—tries to subvert design’s obsession with stuff. Diana Budds, Curbed, "How design is being upended by the climate crisis," 9 July 2019 Political activists are pressuring companies to adopt political, social and environmental policies that would subvert earnings that rightly belong to labor and capital. Phil Gramm And Michael Solon, WSJ, "Enemies of the Economic Enlightenment," 15 Apr. 2019 But Tarantino subverts them in ways that result in a film that feels like his most personal and introspective. Richard Newby, The Hollywood Reporter, "'Once Upon a Time in Hollywood' and the End of Tarantino," 31 July 2019 That’s a difficult challenge, especially during a modern age where the primacy of the individual has subverted the pursuit of the common good. Cynthia M. Allen, Twin Cities, "Cynthia M. Allen: Let’s all agree that America is more than ‘just OK’," 11 July 2019 That message simultaneously subverts and builds upon the previous three films. Eliana Dockterman, Time, "Toy Story 4 Is a Good Sequel. Here's What the Star Wars, Avengers and Game of Thrones Franchises Can Learn From It," 21 June 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

8 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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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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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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one from the Upper Peninsula of Michigan

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