Printable Version
Pronunciation: sê-brep-shên Hear it!

Part of Speech: Noun

Meaning: 1. The deceitful concealment or obfuscation of facts in order to persuade. 2. An inference drawn from such a misrepresentation.

Notes: Here is a word we need more and more each day. Alternate facts, fake news, and propaganda simply aren't precise enough. We now have a choice of subreption or surreption. Both nouns are supported by two adjectives: subreptitious, subreptive and surreptitious and surreptive. There is no verb subrept but surrept "to steal" once long ago was used in English. We could all use either today.

In Play: Subreption could find many applications to the news these days: "The unedited Internet has opened the doors to subreption of the news on a grand scale." The second sense might be read (hardly spoken) in expressions like this: "Antivaxxers' refusal of injected medication is mostly based on subreptions of the reported results."

Word History: The rule of assimilation apparently wasn't as strong in Late Latin as in Classical Latin, because today's Good Word comes from the same source as surreptitious, as we have seen above. It was borrowed from Late Latin subreption(n) "secret seizure", comprising sub "under, secretly" + rep-, the combining form of rapere "to seize", also underlying English Latinate borrowings raptor, rapacious, and rapt "carried away". Latin inherited its word from PIE rep- "to grab", which also made its way into English as the verb (to) rifle. It emerged in Sanskrit as rapas- "to injure", Albanian rjep "to rip out, rip off", and Dutch rafel "fraying, entanglement". (Today gratitude is owed Barbara Beeton and GW editor Jeremy Busch for spotting my use of the word in redact) and suggesting it might be a topical Good Word.)

Dr. Goodword,

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