[ sur-uhp-tish-uhs ]
/ ˌsɜr əpˈtɪʃ əs /
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See synonyms for: surreptitious / surreptitiously / surreptitiousness on Thesaurus.com


obtained, done, made, etc., by stealth; secret or unauthorized; clandestine: a surreptitious glance.
acting in a stealthy way.
obtained by subreption; subreptitious.



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“Was” is used for the indicative past tense of “to be,” and “were” is only used for the subjunctive past tense.

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Origin of surreptitious

First recorded in 1400–50; late Middle English, from Latin surreptīcius “stolen, clandestine,” equivalent to surrept(us), past participle of surripere “to steal,” (sur- sur-2 + rep-, combining form of rapere “to snatch, plunder” (see rape1) + -tus past participle suffix) + -īcius adjective suffix (see -itious)

OTHER WORDS FROM surreptitious

sur·rep·ti·tious·ly, adverbsur·rep·ti·tious·ness, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2021

Example sentences from the Web for surreptitious

British Dictionary definitions for surreptitious

/ (ˌsʌrəpˈtɪʃəs) /


done, acquired, etc, in secret or by improper means
operating by stealth
characterized by fraud or misrepresentation of the truth

Derived forms of surreptitious

surreptitiously, adverbsurreptitiousness, noun

Word Origin for surreptitious

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