verb (used with object)

to overthrow (something established or existing).
to cause the downfall, ruin, or destruction of.
to undermine the principles of; corrupt.

Origin of subvert

1325–75; Middle English subverten < Latin subvertere to overthrow, equivalent to sub- sub- + vertere to turn
Related formssub·vert·er, nounun·sub·vert·ed, adjective

Synonyms for subvert Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for subvert

Contemporary Examples of subvert

Historical Examples of subvert

  • The majority of the British immigrants had no desire to subvert the State.

    The War in South Africa

    Arthur Conan Doyle

  • Such men might try to subvert us, and, just possibly, might succeed.


    Dallas McCord Reynolds

  • Kings had made efforts to destroy its power and subvert its influence.

    Robert Toombs

    Pleasant A. Stovall

  • "And you can not subvert facts, you know, father," added Agnes.

    My Terminal Moraine

    Frank E. Stockton

  • What are the differences between overthrow, suppress, and subvert?

    English Synonyms and Antonyms

    James Champlin Fernald

British Dictionary definitions for subvert


verb (tr)

to bring about the complete downfall or ruin of (something existing or established by a system of law, etc)
to undermine the moral principles of (a person, etc); corrupt
Derived Formssubverter, noun

Word Origin for subvert

C14: from Latin subvertere to overturn, from sub- from below + vertere to turn
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 subvert

late 14c., "to raze, destroy, overthrow," from Middle French subvertir, from Latin subvertere, from sub "under" (see sub-) + vertere "to turn" (see versus). Related: Subverted; subverting.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper