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Borrowed from Latin subterrāneus.


  • IPA(key): /ˌsʌbtəˈɹeɪniən/
  • Hyphenation: sub‧ter‧ra‧ne‧an


subterranean (comparative more subterranean, superlative most subterranean)

  1. Below ground, under the earth, underground.
    • 1834, Letitia Elizabeth Landon, Francesca Carrara, volume 3, page 162:
      Again the bearers took up the coffin, and cold and damp the subterranean air came from the opened vault. The tapers were lowered, and shed a ghastly light on the rows of piled coffins, and the moisture glittering on the walls.
    • 2012, Andrew Martin, Underground Overground: A passenger's history of the Tube, Profile Books, →ISBN, page 52:
      This is a story of north-south connection, and it begins with the fact that late in 1863 the Great Northern Railway completed a subterranean connection from its terminus at King's Cross to the tracks of the Metropolitan enabling the Great Northern to run through to the Met's easterly terminus at Farringdon Street.
  2. (by extension) Secret, concealed.
    • 2021 October 17, Katrin Bennhold, “Fake Polls and Tabloid Coverage on Demand: The Dark Side of Sebastian Kurz”, in The New York Times[1], ISSN 0362-4331:
      The subterranean tool of buying rigged opinion polling and media coverage is outlined in remarkable detail in chat exchanges recovered from the cellphone of one of Mr. Kurz’s closest allies and friends, Thomas Schmid.


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