[suh b-vur-zhuh n, -shuh n]


an act or instance of subverting.
the state of being subverted; destruction.
something that subverts or overthrows.

Origin of subversion

1350–1400; Middle English < Late Latin subversiōn- (stem of subversiō) an overthrowing. See sub-, version
Related formsan·ti·sub·ver·sion, nounnon·sub·ver·sion, noun Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for subversion

destruction, sabotage, defeat, revolution, overthrow, disruption

Examples from the Web for subversion

Contemporary Examples of subversion

Historical Examples of subversion

  • Neither had he been anxious to exert himself for its subversion.

    A Set of Six

    Joseph Conrad

  • Therefore, the logical place to look for subversion is in the slums.

  • Your jargon was 'peace,' which meant Spanish invasion and Scottish subversion.


    Edmund Gosse

  • Your jargon was peace, which meant Spanish invasion and Scottish subversion.'

    Sir Walter Ralegh

    William Stebbing

  • What, but its subversion, its disseverment, by its own internal antagonism?

British Dictionary definitions for subversion



the act or an instance of subverting or overthrowing a legally constituted government, institution, etc
the state of being subverted; destruction or ruin
something that brings about an overthrow

Word Origin for subversion

C14: from Late Latin subversiō destruction, from Latin subvertere to subvert
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 subversion

late 14c., "physical destruction, demolition, ruination," from Old French subversion, from Late Latin subversionem (nominative subversio) "an overthrow, ruin, destruction," from past participle stem of subvertere (see subvert).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper