Definition of subversive in English:

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Pronunciation: /səbˈvəːsɪv/


Seeking or intended to subvert an established system or institution: subversive literature
More example sentences
  • Over 60 of its members, including its leader, were arrested and accused of espionage, subversive activities and other crimes.
  • He has even banned subversive activities such as opera, ballet and the circus.
  • Thus we have the makings of a quite subversive literary tradition that seeks to undermine the tightly controlled world of the urban elites.
disruptive, troublemaking, inflammatory, insurgent, insurrectionary, insurrectionist, rabble-rousing;
seditious, revolutionary, treasonous, treacherous, mutinous, rebellious, rebel, renegade, unpatriotic, dissident, disloyal, perfidious, insubordinate, underground, undermining, corrupting, discrediting, destructive, harmful


A subversive person: the government claimed we were subversives or terrorists
More example sentences
  • By now known as a subversive and revolutionary, Marx was expelled from Paris, at the request of the Prussian authorities.
  • Gathering such information about the terrorists can be daunting, given the desire of most subversives to keep the organization small, stealthy, and secret.
  • By the term subversives they mean trade unionists, socialists and other campaigners.
troublemaker, dissident, agitator, revolutionary, revolutionist, insurgent, insurrectionist, insurrectionary, renegade, rebel, mutineer, traitor



Pronunciation: /səbˈvəːsɪvli/
Example sentences
  • So now we knew how to be professional but we also remembered how to be subversive, subversively female, subversively feminine.
  • Others, as conductors on the Underground Railroad, were more directly and subversively involved in securing freedom for slaves.
  • These voting procedures could subversively affect the outcome of the race in Minnesota.


Example sentences
  • Aggressive linguistic subversiveness, which used to be his hallmark, has dwindled into charm; sheer amazement has become indistinct bemusement.
  • Such tactics were even praised by the Daily Telegraph recently as offering ‘an honest subversiveness which a conservative newspaper can admire’.
  • Playing Lucy Collins, the troubled daughter of the neighbourhood's petit bourgeois family, she constantly bristled with an insolent ennui and a mild subversiveness.


Mid 17th century: from medieval Latin subversivus, from the verb subvertere (see subvert).

Words that rhyme with subversive

coercive, cursive, excursive

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: sub|ver¦sive

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