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sub rosa

[suhb roh-zuh] /sʌb ˈroʊ zə/
adverb
1.
confidentially; secretly; privately.
Origin of sub rosa
1920-1925
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 Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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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 (goodger@python.org)
  • 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

/ˈrəʊzə/
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
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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
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5
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