Try Our Apps


Avoid these words. Seriously.

sub rosa

[suhb roh-zuh] /sʌb ˈroʊ zə/
confidentially; secretly; privately.
Origin of sub rosa
First recorded in 1920-25, sub rosa is from the Latin word sub rosā literally, under the rose, from the ancient use of the rose at meetings as a symbol of the sworn confidence of the participants Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
Cite This Source
Examples from the Web for sub rosa
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Believe me, they've done a lot of searching; most of it sub rosa.

    This Crowded Earth Robert Bloch
  • Business is transacted on Sabbath eve; but this, of course, sub rosa.

    Against the Current Edward A. Steiner
  • There was the revelation of some that had existed before, sub rosa.

    Betty Lee, Sophomore

    David Goodger (
  • Mr. Roosevelt (this was said sub rosa) had not been too Radical, but too frank.

    Ten Years Near the German Frontier Maurice Francis Egan
  • It was generally known, sub rosa, that Hildreth and I were living together.

    Tramping on Life Harry Kemp
  • The ancients often suspended it above the table at feasts, to signify that what was said sub rosa was not to be repeated.

    Philothea Lydia Maria Child
  • I was invited on condition that I would not let the student-body know of these sub rosa fiestas.

    Tramping on Life Harry Kemp
  • "Of course Mr. Harley understands that all this is sub rosa," said Mr. Goodnight, looking severely at the correspondent.

    The Candidate Joseph Alexander Altsheler
  • He had planned to leave definitely, and find some "sub rosa" way to speak to Rosita.

    Dust of New York Konrad Bercovici
British Dictionary definitions for sub rosa

sub rosa

in secret
Word Origin
Latin, literally: under the rose; from the rose that, in ancient times, was hung over the council table, as a token of secrecy
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for sub rosa

"privately, secretly," Latin, literally "under the rose," which was regarded as a symbol of secrecy.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Nearby words for sub rosa

Word Value for sub

Scrabble Words With Friends