clandestine

adjective
clan·​des·​tine | \ klan-ˈde-stən How to pronounce clandestine (audio) also -ˌstīn or -ˌstēn or ˈklan-də- \

Definition of clandestine

: marked by, held in, or conducted with secrecy : surreptitious a clandestine love affair

Other Words from clandestine

clandestinely adverb
clandestineness noun
clandestinity \ ˌklan-​də-​ˈsti-​nə-​tē How to pronounce clandestine (audio) , -​de-​ˈsti-​ \ noun

Choose the Right Synonym for 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

Did you know?

In 1658, the English poet John Milton wrote of "clandestine Hostility cover'd over with the name of Peace." Today, clandestine is used in much the same way. The word often substitutes for secret and covert, and it is commonly applied to actions that involve secrecy maintained for an evil, illicit, or unauthorized purpose. It comes to English by way of Middle French, from Latin clandestinus, which is itself from Latin clam, meaning "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.
Recent Examples on the Web The goal was not some clandestine reupholstering but rather to discover the first modern scientific formula for calculating reverberation. Jeremy Eichler, BostonGlobe.com, 6 May 2022 That significantly increased safe access to the procedure after the health minister reported that nearly 200 women were dying each year of complications from clandestine abortions. Astrid SuÁrez And Christopher Sherman, Chicago Tribune, 4 May 2022 The investigation that followed the riots helped fuel a law enforcement shift from battering rams and clandestine beatings to partnerships, community policing and an unprecedented level of civilian oversight. Los Angeles Times, 30 Apr. 2022 Both men wore plain clothes, and clandestine chaperones escorted their Buick. New York Times, 28 Apr. 2022 In Soviet-era Kyiv, Ukrainian intellectuals used to trade coveted samizdat reprints of Brodsky’s poems, reciting them at clandestine gatherings. Yaroslav Trofimov, WSJ, 28 Apr. 2022 In Hawaii, trainees learn clandestine amphibious and jungle operations. Andrew Dyer, San Diego Union-Tribune, 20 Apr. 2022 As the clandestine couple, Oliver and Alwyn strike an uncanny cadence, and the differences between them—age, economic, social, and otherwise—slip into the background. ELLE, 19 Apr. 2022 In modern-day China, two women strive to preserve Nushu, an ancient secret language that bonded generations of Chinese women together through centuries of oppression in a clandestine support system of sisterhood and survival. Rebecca Rubin, Variety, 19 Apr. 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'clandestine.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of clandestine

circa 1528, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for clandestine

Middle French or Latin; Middle French clandestin, from Latin clandestinus, from clam secretly; akin to Latin celare to hide — more at hell

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The first known use of clandestine was circa 1528

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Dictionary Entries Near clandestine

clancular

clandestine

clandestine evolution

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Last Updated

10 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Clandestine.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/clandestine. Accessed 21 May. 2022.

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