adverb or adjective
in·​cog·​ni·​to | \ ˌin-ˌkäg-ˈnē-(ˌ)tō How to pronounce incognito (audio) also in-ˈkäg-nə-ˌtō \

Definition of incognito

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: with one's identity concealed


plural incognitos

Definition of incognito (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : one appearing or living incognito
2 : the state or assumed identity of one living or traveling incognito or incognita

Synonyms & Antonyms for incognito

Synonyms: Adverb or adjective

Antonyms: Adverb or adjective

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The ancient Greeks and Romans knew that there were times when you didn't want to be recognized. For example, a myth tells how Zeus and Hermes visited a village incognito and asked for lodging. The apparently penniless travelers were turned away from every household except that of a poor elderly couple named Baucis and Philemon, who provided a room and a feast despite their own poverty. The Romans had a word that described someone or something unknown (like the gods in the tale): incognitus, a term that is the ancestor of our modern incognito. Cognitus is the past participle of the Latin verb cognoscere, which means "to know" and which also gives us recognize, among other words.

Examples of incognito in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Adverb or adjective So, without a Brazil jersey, my sister-in-law was incognito, until the game stared. Ann Killion,, 2 July 2018 Around her chest, a Gucci fanny pack gave her look that subtle edge, while her trucker hat—from the Dogfish Head brewery!—and large sunglasses made the case for going incognito. Vogue, 16 Apr. 2019 So, without a Brazil jersey, my sister-in-law was incognito, until the game stared. Ann Killion,, 2 July 2018 Meanwhile, Rufus and Wyatt go incognito at a nearby plantation to find the sleeper and destroy the Confederate version of Gray’s Sports Almanac. Rachel Kaufman, Smithsonian, 13 May 2018 The entire visa appointment apparently only took ten minutes, and Markle seemingly tried to go incognito by wearing sunglasses and a White Sox cap the entire time. Lisa Ryan, The Cut, 12 Apr. 2018 So bad was secession fervor by then that Lincoln traveled incognito, Crofts writes, lest assassins kill him on the way. Avi Selk, Washington Post, 31 Oct. 2017 But after months of remaining relatively incognito, as his supporters continue to push for the arrest of the other men involved in his attack, Harris became one of the men charged with a crime. Trymaine Lee, NBC News, 10 Oct. 2017 Go incognito Every major web browser — Chrome, Edge, Firefox, Internet Explorer, Safari, and Opera — has private, or incognito, browsing. Kim Komando, USA TODAY, 6 Oct. 2017 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun That includes our bedrooms and our incognito web browsers. Molly Longman,, 13 Mar. 2020 Tap or click here to learn about Chrome’s incognito mode. Kim Komando, USA TODAY, 30 Jan. 2020 In the same holistic vein, the incognito search brought up an ad for a book on herbal antibiotics and four people were shown ads for essential oils. Olivia Goldhill, Quartz, 12 Mar. 2020 Outside of work, Joe keeps a low profile with his still-effective incognito hat. Carly Mallenbaum, USA TODAY, 24 Dec. 2019 Celine Dion took couture by storm back in July with her Titanic necklace, and this season Paris has Cardi B. The Hustlers star reigned over Fashion Week in her most iconic look yet, posing under the Eiffel Tower incognito. Rhonda Richford, The Hollywood Reporter, 29 Sep. 2019 Lively attempted to stay incognito in a bobble hat and gingham scarf, while her husband hid under a baseball cap. Amy Mackelden, Harper's BAZAAR, 30 Oct. 2019 He'd been introduced to the family, somewhat incognito, by his girlfriend at the time — now his wife of more than 20 years — who was already tutoring the boy in English. Patrick Brzeski, The Hollywood Reporter, 8 Nov. 2019 Users who go incognito won’t get the same personalized experience they would otherwise based on what Google knows about them. NBC News, 2 Oct. 2019 See More

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

First Known Use of incognito

Adverb or adjective

1635, in the meaning defined above


1638, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for incognito

Adverb or adjective

Italian, from Latin incognitus unknown, from in- + cognitus, past participle of cognoscere to know — more at cognition

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The first known use of incognito was in 1635

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Cite this Entry

“Incognito.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 1 Oct. 2022.

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More Definitions for incognito


adverb or adjective
in·​cog·​ni·​to | \ ˌin-ˌkäg-ˈnē-tō How to pronounce incognito (audio) , in-ˈkäg-nə-ˌtō \

Kids Definition of incognito

: with someone's identity kept secret He's traveling incognito.

More from Merriam-Webster on incognito

Nglish: Translation of incognito for Spanish Speakers


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