- 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
The lack of trust between the Israeli and American leaders on Iran has been a sub-rosa tension in the relationship since 2009.U.S., Israel Discuss Triggers for Bombing Iran’s Nuclear Infrastructure
December 28, 2011
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.Castles and Chateaux of Old Burgundy
- in secret
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