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surreptitious Options
Posted: Sunday, April 9, 2017 12:00:00 AM
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(adjective) Marked by quiet and caution and secrecy; taking pains to avoid being observed.

Synonyms: furtive, stealthy, sneaky

Usage: She stole a surreptitious glance at him, but he, too, seemed to have been caught up by Rose's gay, good humor.
Posted: Sunday, April 9, 2017 1:57:47 PM

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Notes: Today's is a much better word than any of the near synonyms in the definition because it is long, slithery, and full of hissing?all of which gives it a slightly sinister air that the contenders for its meaning lack. In fact, this may be why the adjective is often associated with deceitfulness? that and the fact that it sounds so much like suspicious. The adverb is surreptitiously and the noun, surreptitiousness, is even better with its an extra round of hissing.

In Play: This good word is not always associated with deceit, though it does always raise suspicions and imply guilt, "Pat Downe's surreptitious glances at the neckline of Claude's wife forced Claude to cut in on them in the middle of the dance." Guilt, of course, is often accompanied by embarrassment: "At the reception for the ambassador, Rhonda casually raised her left hand to her face and, with her right pinky, surreptitiously removed something from her left nostril."

Word History: Surreptitious entered Middle English, more or less willingly, from Latin surrepticius, an adjective from surreptus, the past participle of surripere "to take away secretly". This verb is a combination of sub "(from) under, secretly" + rapere "to seize". The Latin root rap- also underlies our words raptor, rapacious, and rapt. Ravage comes from the same root, smoothed off by hundreds of years rolling off the tongues of French speakers, from whom we borrowed it.

Irma Crespo
Posted: Sunday, April 9, 2017 3:56:07 PM

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Adj. 1. surreptitious - marked by quiet and caution and secrecy; taking pains to avoid being observed; "a furtive manner"; "a sneak attack"; "stealthy footsteps"; "a surreptitious glance at his watch"
furtive, sneak, stealthy, sneaky
concealed - hidden on any grounds for any motive; "a concealed weapon"; "a concealed compartment in his briefcase"
2. surreptitious - conducted with or marked by hidden aims or methodssurreptitious - conducted with or marked by hidden aims or methods; "clandestine intelligence operations"; "cloak-and-dagger activities behind enemy lines"; "hole-and-corner intrigue"; "secret missions"; "a secret agent"; "secret sales of arms"; "surreptitious mobilization of troops"; "an undercover investigation"; "underground resistance"
clandestine, cloak-and-dagger, hush-hush, undercover, underground, secret, hole-and-corner, hugger-mugger
covert - secret or hidden; not openly practiced or engaged in or shown or avowed; "covert actions by the CIA"; "covert funding for the rebels"
Based on WordNet 3.0, Farlex clipart collection. © 2003-2012 Princeton University, Farlex Inc.
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