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Word of the Day
Sunday, May 20, 2018

Definitions for sub rosa

  1. confidentially; secretly; privately.

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Citations for sub rosa
He was too impatient. He should've worked sub rosa, built a wider network of supporters; and he should not have struck openly. Michael Flynn, In the Lion's Mouth, 2011
Besides the pleasure of a newly acquired possession, there is an agreeable feeling of having bought it sub rosa. Daniele Varè, Maker of Heavenly Trousers, 1935
Origin of sub rosa
The English adverbial phrase sub rosa comes directly from the Latin phrase sub rosā “under the rose,” from the use of a rose suspended from the ceiling of the council chamber during meetings to symbolize the sworn confidence of the participants. This use of the rose is based on the Greek myth that Aphrodite (Latin Venus) gave a rose to her son Eros (Latin Cupid); Eros then gave the rose to Harpocrates, the god of silence and secrets, to ensure that Aphrodite’s dalliances remained hidden. Sub rosa entered English in the 17th century.
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