• synonyms


[sur-uh p-tish-uh s]
See more synonyms for surreptitious on Thesaurus.com
  1. obtained, done, made, etc., by stealth; secret or unauthorized; clandestine: a surreptitious glance.
  2. acting in a stealthy way.
  3. obtained by subreption; subreptitious.
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Origin of surreptitious

1400–50; late Middle English < Latin surreptīcius stolen, clandestine, equivalent to surrept(us), past participle of surripere to steal, (sur- sur-2 + rep-, combining form of rapere to snatch, rape1 + -tus past participle suffix) + -īcius -itious
Related formssur·rep·ti·tious·ly, adverbsur·rep·ti·tious·ness, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words


Examples from the Web for surreptitiously

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • The best of them he contrived to deal with himself, secretly and surreptitiously.

    The Manxman

    Hall Caine

  • Surreptitiously Naomi pinched her hip till it felt black and blue.

  • As softly and as surreptitiously as it begins to rain on a cloudy day, she was crying.

    In a Little Town

    Rupert Hughes

  • He and his wife were taking lessons from Prue surreptitiously at their own home.

    In a Little Town

    Rupert Hughes

  • Why, indeed, was she back in England surreptitiously, and in that neighbourhood?

    The Doctor of Pimlico

    William Le Queux

British Dictionary definitions for surreptitiously


  1. done, acquired, etc, in secret or by improper means
  2. operating by stealth
  3. characterized by fraud or misrepresentation of the truth
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Derived Formssurreptitiously, adverbsurreptitiousness, noun

Word Origin

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

Word Origin and History for surreptitiously



mid-15c., from Latin surrepticius "stolen, furtive, clandestine," from surreptus, past participle of surripere "seize secretly," from sub "from under" (hence, "secretly") + rapere "to snatch" (see rapid). Related: Surreptitiously.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper