Word of the Day Archive
Monday February 17, 2003
sub rosa \suhb-ROH-zuh\ , adverb:
1. Secretly; privately; confidentially.
1. Designed to be secret or confidential; secretive; private.
Unlike progressive educators of the past, who openly proclaimed their goals, today's multiculturalists are generally unwilling to engage the wider public in open debate about their methods, preferring to promote their agenda sub rosa.
-- Sol Stern, "Losing Our Language", Commentary, May 1999
Second, Abramson argues that since a certain amount of jury nullification goes on anyway, sub rosa, it should be brought out into the open.
-- Richard A. Posner, "Juries on trial", Commentary, March 1, 1995
The investigators said that a major purpose of the sub-rosa activities was to create so much confusion, suspicion and dissension that the Democrats would be incapable of uniting after choosing a presidential nominee.
-- Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward, "FBI Finds Nixon Aides Sabotaged Democrats", Washington Post, October 10, 1972
The atmosphere of gloom and dislocation only thickened, though, and Marty found himself in over his head in a world of shadowy fixers, sub-rosa deputies of the C.I.A. and the mob.
-- Stephen Metcalf, "Fraud S&M and St. Francis: A Riotous Bull-Market Fable", New York Observer, March 25, 2002
Sub rosa comes from the Latin, literally "under the rose," from the ancient association of the rose with confidentiality, the origin of which traces to a famous story in which Cupid gave Harpocrates, the god of silence, a rose to bribe him not to betray the confidence of Venus. Hence the ceilings of Roman banquet-rooms were decorated with roses to remind guests that what was spoken sub vino (under the influence of wine) was also sub rosa.