subvert | subversive | subversion

Exam frequency

GRE

high

Banks

high

Civil Services

high

Meaning(s)

damage or destroy something

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subvert - undermine

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When you ‘subvert’ something, your words or actions undermine an established norm or system with the goal of weakening it or making it inoperable. This formal word implies something done stealthily and over a period of time as part of a long-term strategy. For that reason, the act of ‘subversion’ is very deliberate and calculated. Most commonly used in relation to politics.

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Check Icon Example(s)

  1. There are some members of the public who believe that the current crisis is being used to subvert our society’s traditional civil liberties.

  2. There is a subversive element within the government who are working quietly to undermine the current official strategy and promote a more hard-line approach to the immigration issue.

  3. The authoritarian regime has cracked down on any form of subversion by implementing a new crime bill that makes it an equal offence to terrorism.

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