Try Our Apps


90s Slang You Should Know


[sur-uh p-tish-uh s] /ˌsɜr əpˈtɪʃ əs/
obtained, done, made, etc., by stealth; secret or unauthorized; clandestine:
a surreptitious glance.
acting in a stealthy way.
obtained by subreption; subreptitious.
Origin of surreptitious
late Middle English
1400-50; late Middle English < Latin surreptīcius stolen, clandestine, equivalent to surrept(us), past participle of surripere to steal, (sur- sur-2 + rep-, combining form of rapere to snatch, rape1 + -tus past participle suffix) + -īcius -itious
Related forms
surreptitiously, adverb
surreptitiousness, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
Cite This Source
Examples from the Web for surreptitiously
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • surreptitiously she watched Peignton to see if he shared her disappointment.

    Lady Cassandra Mrs George de Horne Vaizey
  • surreptitiously he drew from his pocket a faded cabinet photograph.

    Elkan Lubliner, American Montague Glass
  • surreptitiously he searched the two big boxes carefully, inwardly hoping that she had not forgotten—nay, ignored—him.

    What's-His-Name George Barr McCutcheon
  • Eloise had seized and squeezed her surreptitiously in the hall before they came out.

    Jewel Clara Louise Burnham
  • Sasnett commanded, surreptitiously placing a dollar in the negro's hand to insure a quick departure.

    The Co-Citizens Corra Harris
British Dictionary definitions for surreptitiously


done, acquired, etc, in secret or by improper means
operating by stealth
characterized by fraud or misrepresentation of the truth
Derived Forms
surreptitiously, adverb
surreptitiousness, noun
Word Origin
C15: from Latin surreptīcius furtive, from surripere to steal, from sub- secretly + rapere to snatch
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 surreptitiously



mid-15c., from Latin surrepticius "stolen, furtive, clandestine," from surreptus, past participle of surripere "seize secretly," from sub "from under" (hence, "secretly") + rapere "to snatch" (see rapid). Related: Surreptitiously.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Difficulty index for surreptitious

Many English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for surreptitiously

Scrabble Words With Friends

Nearby words for surreptitiously