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

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 More scurrilously, the Iranian nuclear negotiators on the show are portrayed as, at best, stooges of the West or, at worst, traitors out to subvert the Islamic Republic. Omid Khazani And Henry Chu, Los Angeles Times, 18 Nov. 2021 The piece is deliberately danceable and intentionally seeks to subvert expectations of orchestral music. Joanne Shurvell, Forbes, 12 Nov. 2021 Gonzalez pointed to election officials like Gates as a key reason Trump was unsuccessful in his attempts to subvert the election result in 2020. Jeremy Herb, Jake Tapper And Michelle Rozsa, CNN, 5 Nov. 2021 This would be depressing if there weren’t more to focus on, like the deliberate, ruminating nature of our personalities, which have the power to subvert all the stereotypes. Whizy Kim,, 21 Oct. 2021 America’s prevailing political, economic, and legal attitudes subvert the rights of life and nature in favor of corporations. Jasper Craven, The New Republic, 28 June 2021 In response, government spokesman Ofwono Opondo, accused the US government and Ambassador Brown of meddling in Uganda’s internal politics in an attempt to subvert the will of the people. Carlos Mureithi, Quartz, 9 Aug. 2021 Having acknowledged its template and promised to subvert it, writer-director Jonah Feingold’s film proceeds to merely follow its premise through in the least imaginative manner possible, replete with a happy-reunion climax set at a wedding. Nick Schager, Variety, 10 Sep. 2021 An Apple spokesman said the company had addressed privacy and security concerns in a document Friday outlining why the complex architecture of the scanning software should resist attempts to subvert it here. NBC News, 19 Aug. 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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The first known use of subvert was in the 14th century

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Last Updated

27 Nov 2021

Cite this Entry

“Subvert.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 3 Dec. 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

More from Merriam-Webster on subvert

Nglish: Translation of subvert for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of subvert for Arabic Speakers


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