adjective clan·des·tine \klan-ˈdes-tən also -ˌtīn or -ˌtēn or ˈklan-dəs-\

: done in a private place or way : done secretly

Full Definition of CLANDESTINE

:  marked by, held in, or conducted with secrecy :  surreptitious <a clandestine love affair>
clan·des·tine·ly adverb
clan·des·tine·ness noun
clan·des·tin·i·ty \ˌklan-də-ˈsti-nə-tē, -des-ˈti-\ noun


  1. <I took a clandestine peek at the price tag on the diamond necklace.>
  2. 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


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

secret, covert, stealthy, furtive, clandestine, surreptitious, underhanded mean done without attracting observation. secret implies concealment on any grounds for any motive <met at a secret location>. covert stresses the fact of not being open or declared <covert intelligence operations>. stealthy suggests taking pains to avoid being seen or heard especially in some misdoing <the stealthy step of a burglar>. furtive implies a sly or cautious stealthiness <lovers exchanging furtive glances>. clandestine implies secrecy usually for an evil, illicit, or unauthorized purpose and often emphasizes the fear of being discovered <a clandestine meeting of conspirators>. surreptitious applies to action or behavior done secretly often with skillful avoidance of detection and in violation of custom, law, or authority <the surreptitious stockpiling of weapons>. underhanded stresses fraud or deception <an underhanded trick>.



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