AskDefine | Define subvert

Dictionary Definition



1 cause the downfall of; of rulers; "The Czar was overthrown"; "subvert the ruling class" [syn: overthrow, overturn, bring down]
2 corrupt morally or by intemperance or sensuality; "debauch the young people with wine and women"; "Socrates was accused of corrupting young men"; "Do school counselors subvert young children?"; "corrupt the morals" [syn: corrupt, pervert, demoralize, demoralise, debauch, debase, profane, vitiate, deprave, misdirect]
3 destroy property or hinder normal operations; "The Resistance sabotaged railroad operations during the war" [syn: sabotage, undermine, countermine, counteract, weaken]
4 destroy completely; "we must not let our civil liberties be subverted by the current crisis"

User Contributed Dictionary



  • sense verb
    • a RP /səbˈvɜːt/, /s@b"v3:t/
    • a US , /səbˈvɝt/, /s@b"v3`t/
  • sense noun
    • a RP /ˈsʌbvɜːt/, /"sVbv3:t/
    • a US , /ˈsʌbvɝt/, /"sVbv3`t/
  • Rhymes: -ɜː(r)t

Etymology 1

subvertere, literally "to turn from under".


  1. To overturn from the foundation; to overthrow; to ruin utterly.
  2. To pervert, as the mind, and turn it from the truth; to corrupt; to confound.
  3. To upturn convention from the foundation by undermining it (literally, to turn from beneath).
Related terms
upturn convention by undermining it

Etymology 2

, by analogy with advert.


  1. An advertisement created by subvertising.

Extensive Definition

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

accommodate, adapt, adjust, alienate, alter, ameliorate, answer, answer conclusively, argue down, arise, better, brainwash, break up, capsize, careen, change, confound, confute, contradict, controvert, convert, corrupt, counterindoctrinate, crush, culbuter, debase, defeat, deform, demolish, denature, deny, deprave, destroy, dismiss, dispose of, diversify, finish, fit, floor, honeycomb, improve, indoctrinate, insurge, insurrect, keel over, meliorate, mitigate, modify, modulate, mount the barricades, mutate, mutineer, mutiny, nonplus, overset, overthrow, overturn, overwhelm, parry, pervert, put to silence, qualify, re-create, realign, rebel, rebuild, rebut, reconstruct, redesign, reduce to silence, refit, reform, refute, reindoctrinate, reluct, reluctate, remake, renew, reshape, restructure, revamp, revive, revolt, revolute, revolution, revolutionize, ring the changes, riot, rise, rise up, ruin, run riot, sabotage, sap, sap the foundations, settle, shift the scene, shuffle the cards, shut up, silence, smash all opposition, squash, squelch, strike, throw down, throw over, tip over, topple, topple over, topsy-turvify, topsy-turvy, turn a somersault, turn over, turn the scale, turn the tables, turn the tide, turn topsy-turvy, turn turtle, turn upside down, undermine, upend, upset, upturn, vary, weaken, win away, work a change, worsen, wreck
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