Simple Definition of clandestine
: done in a private place or way : done secretly
Examples of clandestine in a sentence
The clandestine meetings, the passing back and forth of messages between Lodge and the plotters, the coaxing along of the generals, all had the emotional lift of a strong amphetamine. —Neil Sheehan, A Bright Shining Lie, 1988
The CIA's great innovation has been to concentrate in peacetime on ‘covert action’—that is, the use of clandestine means to challenge policies and regimes in other countries. —Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr., The Cycles of American History, 1986
And Pym was in London for a conference—no, he wasn't, he was attending a three-day course on the latest methods of clandestine communication in a beastly little training house off Smith Square. —John le Carré, A Perfect Spy, 1986
<I took a clandestine peek at the price tag on the diamond necklace.>
Did You Know?
In 1658, the English poet John Milton wrote of "clandestine Hostility cover'd over with the name of Peace." Three and a half centuries later we use clandestine in much the same way. The word is often used as a synonym of secret and covert, and it is commonly applied to actions that involve secrecy maintained for an evil, illicit, or unauthorized purpose. It comes to us by way of Middle French from Latin clandestinus, which is itself from clam, meaning "secretly."
Origin of clandestine
Middle French or Latin; Middle French clandestin, from Latin clandestinus, from clam secretly; akin to Latin celare to hide — more at hell
First Known Use: circa 1528
Synonym Discussion of clandestine
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