sub·​rep·​tion (ˌ)səb-ˈrep-shən How to pronounce subreption (audio)
: a deliberate misrepresentation
also : an inference drawn from it
subreptitious adjective
subreptitiously adverb

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In canon law and Scots law, subreption is the obtainment of a dispensation or gift by concealment of the truth, whereas obreption is the obtainment of a dispensation or gift by fraud. Both terms are from Latin nouns: respectively, subreptio, meaning "the act of stealing," and obreptio, meaning "the act of stealing upon." The derivation of "subreption" also traces to the Latin verb surripere, meaning "to take away secretly," which is the base of the Anglicized term "surreptitious," a synonym of "stealthy." "Obreption" shares an ancestor with the word reptile: Latin repere, meaning "to creep."

Word History


Late Latin subreption-, subreptio, from Latin, act of stealing, from subripere, surripere to take away secretly — more at surreptitious

First Known Use

1600, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of subreption was in 1600


Dictionary Entries Near subreption

Cite this Entry

“Subreption.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 18 May. 2024.

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