An example of to subvert is to defeat the enemy by causing the enemy soldiers to believe that their leaders are corrupt.
- to overthrow or destroy (something established)
- to undermine or corrupt, as in morals
Origin of subvertMiddle English subverten ; from Middle French subvertir ; from Classical Latin subvertere ; from sub-, sub- + vertere, to turn: see verse
transitive verbsub·vert·ed, sub·vert·ing, sub·verts
- To overthrow or destroy (a government or an established order or authority). See Synonyms at overthrow.
- To undermine, overturn, or render ineffective (a rule or an established notion, such as a stereotype, for example).
- To cause to serve a purpose other than the original or established one; commandeer or redirect: “a short, virus-like piece of DNA that replicates itself &ellipsis; by subverting the cell's DNA replication machinery” (Richard Dawkins).
- To undermine, mislead, or betray: “Willy's batch of unexamined dreams and aspirations confused, misled, and subverted him” (Joseph Badaracco).
Origin of subvertMiddle English subverten, from Old French subvertir, from Latin subvertere : sub-, sub- + vertere, to turn; see wer-2 in Indo-European roots.
(third-person singular simple present subverts, present participle subverting, simple past and past participle subverted)
- To overturn from the foundation; to overthrow; to ruin utterly.
- To pervert, as the mind, and turn it from the truth; to corrupt; to confound.
- A dictator stays in power only as long as he manages to subvert the will of his people.
- To upturn convention from the foundation by undermining it (literally, to turn from beneath).
From Middle English subverten, from Latin subvertÅ (“to overthrow", literally “to underturn, turn from beneath").