Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • adj. Intended or serving to subvert, especially intended to overthrow or undermine an established government: "Sex and creativity are often seen by dictators as subversive activities” ( Erica Jong).
  • n. One who advocates or is regarded as advocating subversion.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. Intending to subvert, overturn or undermine a government or authority
  • n. a radical supporter of political or social revolution

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Tending to subvert; having a tendency to overthrow and ruin.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Tending to subvert; having a tendency to overthrow and ruin: with of.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adj. in opposition to a civil authority or government
  • n. a radical supporter of political or social revolution

Etymologies

See to subvert. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • In the meantime, Nigerian security agencies have been investigating what they call subversive activities by some foreign correspondents.

    CNN Transcript Feb 9, 2007

  • It took the gay-rights movement 30 years to shift from the Stonewall riots to gay marriage; now its transgender wing, long considered the most subversive, is striving for suburban normalcy too.

    A Boy's Life

  • Like all great art, his plays remain subversive because they have the power to pull us out of the routines and the regulations of our conventional lives.

    The Stratford Experience

  • If you or someone you know has engaged in subversive acts or thoughts, call 1-866-445-6580.

    Boing Boing: April 8, 2007 - April 14, 2007 Archives

  • A subversive is one who works to undermine the structures and shibboleths of society.

    A meme by any other name

  • In many cities there are movements for an easygoing "alternative carnival" which rests on the same historic roots, but is again subversive, funny and unrespectful.

    Boing Boing: July 9, 2006 - July 15, 2006 Archives

  • Calling opinions in this forum subversive is typical of neocon, nay, facist inability to separate church and state.

    Think Progress » Frist and Torture: What Did He Know and When Did He Know It?

  • I'm not convinced that subversive is quite the right word for what that set up has done.

    February 2004

  • Dr Murungaru, who is responsible for the military, reportedly expressed shock that a cartel of high-ranking officers could have been involved in subversive activities by diverting the Land Rovers to Mungiki, as detailed in an exclusive report on the scandal in the Daily Nation yesterday.

    Army given

  • Vietnam to Cuba; the Cubans were also actively engaged in subversive activities, infiltrating a number of communist youth into the US, and were funneling

    Testimony of Michael D

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Comments

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  • I love the example that was used! As artists we tend to be very rebellious against the policies that enforced in society. So we write about the government being overthrown.

    October 5, 2011

  • overthrow and ruin. nice.

    October 5, 2011

  • Is it more subversive not to admit you've been subversive or to admit you've been subversive?

    Never mind.

    February 1, 2009

  • Maybe, but don't remind me because that'll ruin it.

    January 31, 2009

  • Have you been subversive today, and perhaps forgotten?

    January 31, 2009

  • Once you realise you're being subversive, you're no longer being subversive.

    January 31, 2009

  • I don't think I've ever been subversive :(

    January 31, 2009

  • Have you been subversive today?

    January 31, 2009