Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • transitive verb To overthrow or destroy (a government or an established order or authority). synonym: overthrow.
  • transitive verb To undermine, overturn, or render ineffective (a rule or an established notion, such as a stereotype, for example).
  • transitive verb To cause to serve a purpose other than the original or established one; commandeer or redirect.
  • transitive verb To undermine, mislead, or betray.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • To overthrow; overturn; ruin utterly; destroy.
  • Synonyms Overthrow, Invert, etc. See overturn.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • intransitive verb To overthrow anything from the foundation; to be subversive.
  • transitive verb To overturn from the foundation; to overthrow; to ruin utterly.
  • transitive verb To pervert, as the mind, and turn it from the truth; to corrupt; to confound.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • verb transitive To overturn from the foundation; to overthrow; to ruin utterly.
  • verb transitive To pervert, as the mind, and turn it from the truth; to corrupt; to confound.
  • verb transitive To upturn convention from the foundation by undermining it (literally, to turn from beneath).
  • noun An advertisement created by subvertising.

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

  • verb cause the downfall of; of rulers
  • verb destroy property or hinder normal operations
  • verb corrupt morally or by intemperance or sensuality
  • verb destroy completely

Etymologies

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

[Middle English subverten, from Old French subvertir, from Latin subvertere : sub-, sub- + vertere, to turn; see wer- in Indo-European roots.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle English subverten, from Latin subvertō ("to overthrow", literally "to underturn, turn from beneath").

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Back-formation from subvertising, by analogy with advert.

Examples

  • I'm more of the 'likes to subvert from the inside' kind of guy.

    Cancer sucks

  • It is possible that leaderless 5GW will included meme-driven individuals infiltrating cultural institutions with the intent to long-term subvert them and redirect them to opposite goals.

    Cultural Institution Infiltration: 5GW Technique with Example « PurpleSlog – Awesomeness & Modesty Meets Sexy

  • To subvert is not the aim of literature, its value lies in discovering and revealing what is rarely known, little known, thought to be known but in fact not very well known of the truth of the human world.

    Nobel Lecture - Literature 2000

  • The idea that transgender identities and expression subvert the gender binary did much to increase transgender-inclusion within feminist and queer spaces.

    Life, Law, Gender

  • By the first, Drucker seems to mean the incorporation of images, motifs, and sensibilities from mass culture only to "subvert" these references by using them to implicitly critique the insipidity of mass culture.

    Art and Culture

  • My use of modal notions in triadology cannot be said to "subvert" a doctrine whose relevant sense, never mind whose normativity, hasn't even been established.

    Archive 2007-05-01

  • And if indeed it is a consequence of the teaching thus denominated that necessity is not "predicable of God ad intra," then I can indeed be said to "subvert" that teaching too.

    Archive 2007-05-01

  • ADDED: Andrew Sullivan endorses voting for Sanjaya on the vote for the worst concept because he wants to "subvert" the "far too self-important show."

    Archive 2007-03-01

  • And if indeed it is a consequence of the teaching thus denominated that necessity is not "predicable of God ad intra," then I can indeed be said to "subvert" that teaching too.

    Not talking about God

  • My use of modal notions in triadology cannot be said to "subvert" a doctrine whose relevant sense, never mind whose normativity, hasn't even been established.

    Not talking about God

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