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From Latin subterrāneus.


subterraneous (not comparable)

  1. Subterranean.
    • 1764 December 24 (indicated as 1765), Onuphrio Muralto, translated by William Marshal [pseudonyms; Horace Walpole], chapter I, in The Castle of Otranto, [], London: [] Tho[mas] Lownds [], →OCLC, page 22:
      [S]he recollected a ſubterraneous paſſage which led from the vaults of the caſtle to the church of St. Nicholas.
    • 1836 October, Washington Irving, chapter XXVI, in Astoria, or Anecdotes of an Enterprise beyond the Rocky Mountains. [], volume I, Philadelphia, Pa.: [Henry Charles] Carey, [Isaac] Lea, & Blanchard, →OCLC, page 254:
      The Indians of the Orellanna, also, tell of horrible noises heard occasionally in the Paraguaxo, [] Others have endeavored to account for these discharges of "mountain artillery" on humbler principles; attributing them [] to the disengagement of hydrogen, produced by subterraneous beds of coal in a state of ignition.
    • 1851 November 14, Herman Melville, Moby-Dick; or, The Whale, 1st American edition, New York, N.Y.: Harper & Brothers; London: Richard Bentley, →OCLC:
      A low rumbling sound was heard; a subterraneous hum; and then all held their breaths; as bedraggled with trailing ropes, and harpoons, and lances, a vast form shot lengthwise, but obliquely from the sea.
    • 1944 September and October, Charles E. Lee, “An Ancient Underground Railway”, in Railway Magazine, page 275:
      The 3-mile underground railway—or "subterraneous wagonway"—was begun about 1770 by Christopher Bedlington, and was therefore commonly known as Kitty's Drift.

Usage notes[edit]

Before 1830, this word was more common in print use than subterranean. However, in contemporary English the word is used less than 1% as often as subterranean.

Derived terms[edit]