Try Our Apps


90s Slang You Should Know


[suhb-ter-fyooj] /ˈsʌb tərˌfyudʒ/
an artifice or expedient used to evade a rule, escape a consequence, hide something, etc.
Origin of subterfuge
1565-75; < Late Latin subterfugium, equivalent to Latin subterfug(ere) to evade (subter below + fugere to flee) + -ium -ium
deception, scheme, trick, dodge, ruse. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
Cite This Source
Examples from the Web for subterfuge
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • He passionately denounced the surrender, the "policy of subterfuge and crooked ways," which threatened to founder Italy.

    The Life of Mazzini Bolton King
  • This, too, was but a subterfuge; on August twentieth he was restored to his rank.

    The Life of Napoleon Bonaparte William Milligan Sloane
  • Likewise there was no subterfuge when the youth arrived at his destination.

    Ben Blair Will Lillibridge
  • Finally, she had to resort to strong measures, and gain her end by subterfuge.

    The Rhodesian Gertrude Page
  • subterfuge and deceit are as much at home in this deserted island as in Mayfair.

British Dictionary definitions for subterfuge


a stratagem employed to conceal something, evade an argument, etc
Word Origin
C16: from Late Latin subterfugium, from Latin subterfugere to escape by stealth, from subter secretly + fugere to flee
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 subterfuge

1570s, from Middle French subterfuge, from Late Latin subterfugium "an evasion," from Latin subterfugere "to evade, escape, flee by stealth," from subter "beneath, secretly" + fugere "flee" (see fugitive).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Difficulty index for subterfuge

Few English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for subterfuge

Scrabble Words With Friends

Nearby words for subterfuge