• synonyms


[suhb-tuh-rey-nee-uh n]
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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  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 subterraneous

Historical Examples of subterraneous

  • Most of the work is not subterraneous; it is done in the full light of day.

    Hittel on Gold Mines and Mining

    John S. Hittell

  • Like the subterraneous flue that warms my myrtles, he does good and is unseen.

  • A goat, which fell into the opening, discovered the subterraneous passage.

  • He stood in the centre, but did not realize the nature of that subterraneous structure.

  • Harry did not cease for my reproof, but his laugh was inward and subterraneous.

    The Days of My Life

    Mrs. Oliphant

British Dictionary definitions for subterraneous


  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 for subterranean

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 subterraneous



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