Definition of subterfuge in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈsʌbtəfjuːdʒ/


[mass noun]
Deceit used in order to achieve one’s goal: he had to use subterfuge and bluff on many occasions [count noun]: I hated all the subterfuges, I hated lying to you
More example sentences
  • Jonson's plays challenged the audience to examine the impact of a society governed by deceit and subterfuge.
  • This is unskillful because it requires subterfuge and deceit, it means that solemn promises made at the time of marriage are broken, and it amounts to a betrayal of trust.
  • Using guerrilla tactics and subterfuge, Alfred beat the Vikings at their own game.
trickery, intrigue, deviousness, evasion, deceit, deception, dishonesty, cheating, duplicity, guile, cunning, craft, craftiness, slyness, chicanery, bluff, pretence, fraud, fraudulence, sophistry, sharp practice
informal monkey business, funny business, hanky-panky, jiggery-pokery, kidology, every trick in the book
Irish informal codology
trick, hoax, ruse, wile, ploy, stratagem, artifice, dodge, bluff, manoeuvre, machination, pretext, pretence, expedient, tactic, intrigue, scheme, deception, fraud, masquerade, blind, smokescreen, sleight, stunt, game
informal con, racket, scam, caper
British informal wheeze
Australian informal lurk
archaic shift


Late 16th century: from French, or from late Latin subterfugium, from Latin subterfugere 'escape secretly', from subter- 'beneath' + fugere 'flee'.

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Line breaks: sub¦ter|fuge

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