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Nov 21, 2013
This week's theme
Words coined after flowers

This week's words
lotus-eater
primrose path
lily-livered
sub rosa
amaranthine

ceiling rose
A rose on a ceiling in Rhodes, Greece
Photo: edlimphoto

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A.Word.A.Day
with Anu Garg

sub rosa

PRONUNCIATION:
(sub RO-zuh)

MEANING:
adverb: Secretly, privately, or confidentially.

ETYMOLOGY:
From Latin sub (under) rosa (rose). Earliest documented use: 1654. The English term "under the rose" is also used to refer to something in secret.

NOTES:
In Roman mythology, Venus's son Cupid gave a rose to Harpocrates, the god of silence, to ensure his silence about Venus's many indiscretions. Thus the flower became a symbol of secrecy. Ceilings of banquet halls were decorated with roses to indicate that what was said sub vino (under the influence of wine) was also sub rosa.

USAGE:
"'Much of this goes on sub rosa and never comes to public view,' said Wesley Wark."
Peter Goodspeed; Vladimir Putin's Support of Spying; National Post (Canada); Jan 23, 2012.

See more usage examples of sub rosa in Vocabulary.com's dictionary.

A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
He is a hard man who is only just, and a sad one who is only wise. -Voltaire, philosopher (1694-1778)

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