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sub rosa

[suhb roh-zuh]
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adverb
  1. 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
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for sub rosa

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • Although his pen has probably covered more pages than Balzac's, this is the first time Sub-Rosa has really "turned author."

    Law and Laughter

    George Alexander Morton

  • It was for a fact a sort of sub-rosa sortie, but the historian was discreet on this occasion.


British Dictionary definitions for sub rosa

sub rosa

adverb
  1. 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

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