[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.
  1. a person or thing that is subterranean.
  2. a subterrane.

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 Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for subterraneous

Historical Examples of subterraneous

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
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).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper