in·​cog·​ni·​to | \ˌin-ˌkäg-ˈnē-(ˌ)tō 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

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Synonyms & Antonyms for incognito

Synonyms: Adverb or adjective

anonymous, faceless, innominate, nameless, unbaptized, unchristened, unidentified, unnamed, untitled

Antonyms: Adverb or adjective

baptized, christened, dubbed, named, termed

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Did You Know?

Adverb or adjective

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.

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,, "World Cup double-bill: Mexico ousted by Brazil, but the best game came later," 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, "Pilot, Thinker, Soldier, Spy: The Epic “Timeless” Season Finale Twofer," 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, "Why Meghan Markle Went Incognito in Chicago This Week," 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, "Actually, John Kelly, the failed ‘compromise’ to avoid Civil War would have enshrined slavery," 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, "Man Attacked in Charlottesville Charged With Assault in Unexpected Turn," 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, "How to stop ads from following you online," 6 Oct. 2017

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

While Kate Middleton may have better luck making incognito journeys to her hometown of Bucklebury, Los Angeles is a (very public) ten-hour flight away—hard to pull off for any celebrity, let alone a royal-to-be. Elise Taylor, Vogue, "Did Meghan Markle Take a Quick Pre-Wedding Jaunt to Los Angeles?," 4 Apr. 2018 Fulmer was back on the bump at Wrigley Field on Tuesday, pitching in front of at least one executive whose team needs starting pitching — the Brewers — and perhaps other incognito scouts. Anthony Fenech, Detroit Free Press, "Detroit Tigers might be wise to trade Michael Fulmer. Here's why," 3 July 2018 Ordinarily a firm in such a position would need to invest heavily in monitoring its workers—hiring staff to carry out quality assurance by taking Uber rides incognito, for instance. The Economist, "User-rating systems are cut-rate substitutes for a skilful boss," 28 June 2018 One reporter for a Japanese TV network put on a dress and a pair of heels and held hands with her colleague from the Beijing bureau to arrive incognito at the restaurant at the opulent Capella resort, which overlooks the South China Sea. Victoria Kim,, "Singapore preps for Trump-Kim summit with fresh paint and arrests," 9 June 2018 Ru is omnipresent Michelle and Ross may have been in the directors’ chairs, but during a few run-throughs, an incognito RuPaul -- decked out in athleisure and a beanie -- watched from behind the camera. Patrick Crowley, Billboard, "5 Things We Learned On the Set of 'RuPaul's Drag Race'," 18 May 2018 Up first: Olympic gymnast Gabby Douglas goes incognito to discover gifted gymnasts and coaches. Ed Stockly,, "Friday's TV highlights: 'Kevin Smith: Silent But Deadly' on Showtime," 11 May 2018 Spotted by fans in the stands, Swift’s British beau, 27, kept incognito in a baseball cap, denim jacket and white T-shirt. Melody Chiu,, "Taylor Swift Gave Supportive Boyfriend Joe Alwyn a Cute Shout-out on Tour Opening Night," 9 May 2018 The Material Girl appeared on the steps of the Met Museum’s Great Hall, incognito in a monk’s cloak and flanked by a choir of singing monks before taking off her hood and performing the song. Cady Lang, Time, "Let Madonna Take You to Church With Her Crazy Surprise Met Gala Performance," 8 May 2018

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.

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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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Time Traveler for incognito

The first known use of incognito was in 1635

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More Definitions for incognito



English Language Learners Definition of incognito

: with your true identity kept secret (as by using a different name or a disguise)

in·​cog·​ni·​to | \ˌin-ˌkäg-ˈnē-tō, in-ˈkäg-nə-ˌtō\

Kids Definition of incognito

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

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More from Merriam-Webster on incognito

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with incognito

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for incognito

Spanish Central: Translation of incognito

Nglish: Translation of incognito for Spanish Speakers

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