an artifice or expedient used to evade a rule, escape a consequence, hide something, etc.

Nearby words

  1. subteen,
  2. subtemperate,
  3. subtenant,
  4. subtend,
  5. subtenure,
  6. subterminal,
  7. subternatural,
  8. subterrane,
  9. subterranean,
  10. subterrene

Origin of subterfuge

1565–75; < Late Latin subterfugium, equivalent to Latin subterfug(ere) to evade (subter below + fugere to flee) + -ium -ium Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for subterfuge

British Dictionary definitions for subterfuge



a stratagem employed to conceal something, evade an argument, etc

Word Origin for subterfuge

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

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