You might want to call someone subversive if they are sneakily trying to undermine something, from the social structure of your high school to an entire system of government.


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

a radical supporter of political or social revolution

Adjective S.
in opposition to a civil authority or government

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


Sub*ver"sive , a. [Cf. F. subversif.] Tending to subvert; having a tendency to overthrow and ruin.
Lying is a vice subversive of the very ends and design of conversation.

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


Usage Examples

The notion that Congress can change the meaning given a constitutional provision by the Court is subversive of the function of judicial review and it is not the less so because the Court promises to allow it only when the Constitution is moved to the left.

Sometimes people get mad at The Simpsons' subversive story telling, but there's another message in there, which is a celebration of making wild, funny stories.

My house was bugged. They couldn't find any information on me being a subversive because I happen to love America I just don't like some of the things the government is doing.

Thought is subversive and revolutionary, destructive and terrible, Thought is merciless to privilege, established institutions, and comfortable habit. Thought is great and swift and free.

This is a good time to ask apologists for the Islamic regime, who degrades Islam? Who imposes stoning, forced marriage of underage girls and flogging for not wearing the veil? Do such practices represent Iran's ancient history and culture, its ethnic and religious diversity? Its centuries of sensual and subversive poetry?

Misspelled Form

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Other Usage Examples

Men in authority will always think that criticism of their policies is dangerous. They will always equate their policies with patriotism, and find criticism subversive.

People who talk about revolution and class struggle without referring explicitly to everyday life, without understanding what is subversive about love and what is positive in the refusal of constraints, such people have a corpse in their mouth.

I have more respect for somebody who points at his ideal - in this case, the ideal of the pirate - and then becomes something that's more radical, more exciting, more subversive than a pirate could ever be.

My art teacher in junior high was a very out gay man and a mentor to me. He would tell us about Greenwich Village and show us the 'Village Voice' and describe his life, but it was all sort of subversive and below the radar.

I was a mimic when I was a child. I mimicked the teacher and made friends that way, actually. That was a very subversive activity, because I was a goody-goody who never got in trouble. But if I went off in the corner and mimicked the teacher, people loved it.

Writing, I'm convinced, should be a subversive activity - frowned on by the authorities - and not one cooed over and praised beyond common sense by some teacher.


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