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subterranean

[suhb-tuh-rey-nee-uh n]
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adjective Also sub·ter·ra·ne·ous.
  1. existing, situated, or operating below the surface of the earth; underground.
  2. existing or operating out of sight or secretly; hidden or secret.
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noun
  1. a person or thing that is subterranean.
  2. a subterrane.
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Origin of subterranean

1595–1605; < Latin subterrāne(us) (see subterrane) + -an
Related formssub·ter·ra·ne·an·ly, sub·ter·ra·ne·ous·ly, adverb
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for subterranean

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • We are like men in a subterranean cave, so chained that they can look only forward to the entrance.

    Philothea

    Lydia Maria Child

  • The subterranean creep throws a fit and belts me with four fists.

    Operation Earthworm

    Joe Archibald

  • Only in places was the subterranean river shallow and easy to wade.

    Out of the Depths

    Robert Ames Bennet

  • Humboldt says that they were cast up from subterranean sources.

  • Purdy did not hit for the subterranean hang-out of the gang.

    Prairie Flowers

    James B. Hendryx


British Dictionary definitions for subterranean

subterranean

adjective
  1. Also: subterraneous, subterrestrial situated, living, or operating below the surface of the earth
  2. existing or operating in concealment
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Derived Formssubterraneanly or subterraneously, adverb

Word Origin

C17: from Latin subterrāneus, from sub- + terra earth
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 subterranean

adj.

c.1600, from Latin subterraneus "underground," from sub "under" (see sub-) + terra "earth" (see terrain).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper