From King Dictionary of Contemporary English subversive sub‧ver‧sive 1 / səbˈvɜːsɪv $ -ˈvɜːr- / adjective PP REBELLION/REVOLUTION subversive ideas, activities etc are secret and intended to damage or destroy a government or an established system He was engaged in subversive activities. subversive propaganda/literature — subversively adverb Examples from the Corpus subversive • I think this is genuinely subversive. • Reggae was what was called for, some subversive atmosphere in the place. • I do not wish to suggest that New Historians are involved in some huge subversive critical enterprise duping credulous students. • But, as Marx saw long ago, free-market capitalism is quintessentially populist and inherently subversive of traditions and rituals. • This time the language and violence seem only frantic, not genuinely subversive or liberating. • subversive organizations • Plato wrote that the potentially subversive qualities of music were such that it would not be permitted in the perfect state. • The loyalty oath was intended to protect students from so-called subversive teachers. • Most of those words are cynical, humorous and often subversive to the established order. • Again, though, the Fundamental Theorem was doing its subversive work behind the scenes. subversive propaganda/literature • He had remained faithful to the Party in its outlaw years, and had gone to prison for distributing subversive literature. subversive subversive 2 noun [countable ] someone who secretly tries to damage or destroy the government or an established system a known subversive — subversiveness noun [uncountable ] Examples from the Corpus subversive • CIA agents infiltrated the group, looking for alleged subversives. • The new openness meant that there was a marked reduction in the arrests of alleged subversives and in the closures of newspapers. • Pablo Picasso was for a long time regarded as a dangerous subversive. • Postimpressionist art was also taboo, especially Pablo Picasso, who was regarded as a dangerous subversive. • The twins, at almost eleven, were clowns, especially Shaw, who was beginning a career as the family subversive. • Too many subversives, they said. • They became scapegoats for crimes committed and were widely bruited as potential subversives. • the kidnap and torture of a suspected subversive • If two subversives want to meet and pass unnoticed, then do it in the smartest, most exclusive hotel in Geneva.