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subversive

[suh b-vur-siv]
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adjective
  1. Also sub·ver·sion·ar·y [suh b-vur-zhuh-ner-ee, -shuh-] /səbˈvɜr ʒəˌnɛr i, -ʃə-/. tending or intending to subvert or overthrow, destroy, or undermine an established or existing system, especially a legally constituted government or a set of beliefs.
noun
  1. a person who adopts subversive principles or policies.

Origin of subversive

1635–45; < Latin subvers(us) (past participle of subvertere to subvert) + -ive
Related formssub·ver·sive·ly, adverbsub·ver·siv·ism, sub·ver·sive·ness, nouncoun·ter·sub·ver·sive, nounnon·sub·ver·sive, adjectivenon·sub·ver·sive·ly, adverbnon·sub·ver·sive·ness, nounself-sub·ver·sive, adjectiveun·sub·ver·sive, adjectiveun·sub·ver·sive·ly, adverbun·sub·ver·sive·ness, noun

Synonyms

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1. traitorous, treacherous, seditious, destructive.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for subversive

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • They remained to carry on his subversive treacherous intrigues.

    The Snare

    Rafael Sabatini

  • The doctrines inculcated in them were subversive of every principle of morality and religion.

  • Disapproval in the majority of cases would have been subversive of all discipline.

  • This is not subversive of inherited divisions of labor in the home.

    The Family and it's Members

    Anna Garlin Spencer

  • Must I read about these things in the papers to keep up on subversive activity?

    The Deadly Daughters

    Winston K. Marks


British Dictionary definitions for subversive

subversive

adjective
  1. liable to subvert or overthrow a government, legally constituted institution, etc
noun
  1. a person engaged in subversive activities, etc
Derived Formssubversively, adverbsubversiveness, noun
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for subversive

adj.

1640s, from Latin subvers-, past participle stem of subvertere (see subvert) + -ive. As a noun, attested from 1887.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper