: not openly shown, engaged in, or avowed : veiled
a covert alliance
a covert military operation
covert racism
: covered over : sheltered
covert places in the woods
covertly adverb
covertness noun


2 of 2


: hiding place : shelter
: a thicket affording cover for game
: a masking or concealing device
: a feather covering the bases of the quills of the wings and tail of a bird see wing illustration
: a firm durable twilled sometimes waterproofed cloth usually of mixed-color yarns
Choose the Right Synonym for covert

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

Examples of covert in a Sentence

Adjective He has taken part in a number of covert military operations. spy agencies taking covert action Noun set up a covert from which to watch wildlife without being detected the rabbit rushed to the safety of the nearest covert
Recent Examples on the Web
Black Divas, the Black romantic leads of the singing world, have been the main attractions on this covert map, the nova that have made other stars possible. Harmony Holiday, Los Angeles Times, 1 Dec. 2023 In 2001, General Schneider’s two sons filed a civil suit in the United States accusing Mr. Kissinger of helping to orchestrate covert activities in Chile that led to their father’s death. David E. Sanger, New York Times, 30 Nov. 2023 Ukraine’s domestic security service, the SBU, has carried out covert attacks on key figures inside Russia, including a car bomb that killed Daria Dugina, the adult daughter of the Russian nationalist Alexander Dugin. Siobhán O'Grady, Washington Post, 28 Nov. 2023 As Tehran gets closer to producing nuclear weapons, Israel might step up its covert attacks on Iran. Maria Fantappie and Vali Nasr, Foreign Affairs, 20 Nov. 2023 At the covert instruction of Mohamed, who told photographers about the couple’s trip, she and Dodi are photographed kissing on board the yacht without either of them knowing. Stephanie Kaloi, Peoplemag, 17 Nov. 2023 Much of the recent conversation about Russian propaganda efforts has focused on its covert online trolling operations. Kate Brady, Washington Post, 14 Nov. 2023 And covert negotiations with criminal gangs even took place. Nelson Rauda Zablah, The Christian Science Monitor, 30 Oct. 2023 Bernier says that DxE decided to publicly release its guide, even in the wake of Hsiung’s conviction, to help activists who are already committed to carrying out covert investigations do their work more safely and effectively. Andy Greenberg, WIRED, 8 Nov. 2023
The president is the country’s top intelligence consumer and the only person who can authorize a covert This article is part of our premium archives. Jami Miscik, Foreign Affairs, 17 Apr. 2017 The show clocks in at under a half hour, focuses on Mando, Grogu, and Bo-Katan in their new home with the Armorer and her covert, and is largely a collection of action set pieces. Alan Sepinwall, Rolling Stone, 22 Mar. 2023 The main plot involves Ragnar, the kid whose helmet ceremony was interrupted in the season’s opening scene, being abducted by a dragon that has been bedeviling the covert for a while. Alan Sepinwall, Rolling Stone, 22 Mar. 2023 The return to Mando’s covert was even better, as Bo-Katan is also welcomed to walk The Way alongside them, much to her surprise (and conflicted feelings). Erik Kain, Forbes, 15 Mar. 2023 That’s just after Mando is cast out from his Mandalorian covert for the cardinal sin of removing his helmet in the presence of others. Adam B. Vary, Variety, 26 May 2022 Hunting coverts of primary and secondary growth isn’t always easy, and Faust’s advice is to be physically prepared for a day in the uplands. Tom Keer, Field & Stream, 2 June 2020 The bonus of finding a spring singing field is that you also will have pinpointed an autumn covert. Tom Fegely, Field & Stream, 13 Apr. 2020 Back at the Tribe’s underground covert, the Mandalorian donates his full payment to his people. Alex Kane, USA TODAY, 22 Nov. 2019 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'covert.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Adjective and Noun

Middle English, from Anglo-French, past participle of coverir to cover

First Known Use


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Time Traveler
The first known use of covert was in the 14th century

Dictionary Entries Near covert

Cite this Entry

“Covert.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/covert. Accessed 9 Dec. 2023.

Kids Definition


1 of 2 adjective
co·​vert ˈkō-(ˌ)vərt How to pronounce covert (audio) kō-ˈvərt How to pronounce covert (audio)
: not openly made or done
covert military operations
: covered over : sheltered
a covert nook
covertly adverb
covertness noun


2 of 2 noun
: hiding place : shelter
: a thicket giving cover to game

More from Merriam-Webster on covert

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!