Definition of subvert in English:



  • Undermine the power and authority of (an established system or institution)

    ‘an attempt to subvert democratic government’
    • ‘Terrorism is hard to defend against because it subverts our institutions and turns our own freedoms and capabilities against us.’
    • ‘The parable, like the stories of the heroic women who disobeyed, in effect subverts the patriarchal system.’
    • ‘They would have to subvert the system to keep her over here, but it could be done.’
    • ‘This is the truth missing from mythology, the truth that subverts the violent system of this world.’
    • ‘Even exercising our vote may turn out to be no more than palliative in a democracy continually subverted by the power of money.’
    • ‘Furthermore, the same group seem close to, if not the same as, those who have subverted democracy in the federal Liberal Party.’
    • ‘Please reject this underhanded attempt to subvert democracy in Illinois.’
    • ‘By showing how easy it is to subvert the system the fear goes away.’
    • ‘Does not the abrogation amount to subverting the justice system?’
    • ‘Are we to save our democratic systems by subverting them?’
    • ‘At the same time, big business is seen as subverting the democratic process through its financial support of favored candidates.’
    • ‘The attempts to subvert the constitution and establish an autocratic form of rule have been on the agenda for quite some time.’
    • ‘Sequestering this great power in an unaccountable governing agency subverts democracy itself by treating citizens as children.’
    • ‘Someone who subverts the system of nature, by constantly using the supernatural world, is going against the will of God.’
    • ‘We hate an electoral system that is driven by money and that subverts real democracy.’
    • ‘I think he will continue to find ways to subvert democracy in his own country.’
    • ‘The institution is successfully subverted from its institutional purpose and is converted into a private enterprise.’
    • ‘She clearly sees this as an attempt by the Republicans to steal her vote and subvert the system.’
    • ‘Attempts to subvert the system while apparently remaining within it will likely be a lot more common.’
    • ‘Reactionary attempts to abolish or subvert parliamentary democracy must be resisted.’
    destabilize, unsettle, overthrow, overturn
    corrupt, pervert, warp, deprave, defile, debase, distort, contaminate, poison, embitter
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Late Middle English: from Old French subvertir or Latin subvertere, from sub- from below + vertere to turn.