- Subvert is defined as to overthrow, destroy or undermine.
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").