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Borrowed from Latin surrēptīcius (furtive, clandestine), from surrēpō (to creep along).


  • (UK) IPA(key): /ˌsʌɹɪpˈtɪʃəs/
  • (US) IPA(key): /səˌɹɛpˈtɪʃəs/, /ˌsʌɹəpˈtɪʃəs/, /ˌsɛɹəpˈtɪʃəs/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -ɪʃəs


surreptitious (comparative more surreptitious, superlative most surreptitious)

  1. Stealthy, furtive, well hidden, covert (especially movements).
    • 1922, Ben Travers, chapter 1, in A Cuckoo in the Nest[1]:
      He read the letter aloud. Sophia listened with the studied air of one for whom, even in these days, a title possessed some surreptitious allurement.
    • 1998, Lee A. Bygrave, “Data Protection Pursuant to the Right to Privavy in Human Rights Treaties”, in International Journal of Law and Information Technology, volume 6, number 3, pages 260–261:
      It is also worth noting the case law on prisoners' correspondence which establishes that interception of a person's communications need not be surreptitious in order to amount to an interference with respect to Art 8 (1) [ECHR].


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