1570s, from French subterfuge (14c.) or directly from Medieval Latin subterfugium "an evasion," from Latin subterfugere "to evade, escape, flee by stealth," from subter "beneath, below;" in compounds "secretly" (from PIE *sup-ter-, suffixed (comparative) form of *(s)up-; see sub-) + fugere "flee" (see fugitive (adj.)).
Entries linking to subterfuge
In Latin assimilated to following -c-, -f-, -g-, -p-, and often -r- and -m-. In Old French the prefix appears in the full Latin form only "in learned adoptions of old Latin compounds" [OED], and in popular use it was represented by sous-, sou-; as in French souvenir from Latin subvenire, souscrire (Old French souzescrire) from subscribere, etc.
The original meaning is now obscured in many words from Latin (suggest, suspect, subject, etc.). The prefix is active in Modern English, sometimes meaning "subordinate" (as in subcontractor); "inferior" (17c., as in subhuman); "smaller" (18c.); "a part or division of" (c. 1800, as in subcontinent).
late 14c., "fleeing, having fled, having taken flight," from Old French fugitif, fuitif "absent, missing," from Latin fugitivus "fleeing," past-participle adjective from stem of fugere "to flee, fly, take flight, run away; become a fugitive, leave the country, go into exile; pass quickly; vanish, disappear, perish; avoid, shun; escape the notice of, be unknown to," from PIE root *bheug- "to flee" (source also of Greek pheugein "to flee, escape, go into exile, be on the run," phyza "(wild) flight, panic," phyge "flight, exile;" Lithuanian būgstu, būgti "be frightened," bauginti "frighten someone," baugus "timid, nervous;" perhaps also Avestan būj(i)- "penance, atonement," būjat "frees"). Old English had flyma.
Meaning "lasting but a short time, fleeting" is from c. 1500. Hence its use in literature for short compositions written for passing occasions or purposes (1766).
Proto-Indo-European root meaning "under," also "up from under," hence "over."
It forms all or part of: above; assume; Aufklarung; eave; eavesdropper; hyphen; hypo-; hypochondria; hypocrisy; hypotenuse; hypothalamus; hypothesis; hypsi-; hypso-; opal; open; oft; often; resuscitate; somber; souffle; source; soutane; souvenir; sub-; subject; sublime; subpoena; substance; subterfuge; subtle; suburb; succeed; succinct; succor; succubus; succumb; sudden; suffer; sufficient; suffix; suffrage; suggestion; summon; supine; supple; supply; support; suppose; surge; suspect; suspend; sustain; up; up-; Upanishad; uproar; valet; varlet; vassal.
It is the hypothetical source of/evidence for its existence is provided by: Sanskrit upa "near, under, up to, on," Greek hypo "under," Latin sub "under, below," Gothic iup, Old Norse, Old English upp "up, upward," Hittite up-zi "rises."
he wasn't sick--it was just a subterfuge