secret

adjective
se·​cret | \ ˈsē-krət \

Definition of secret 

(Entry 1 of 2)

1a : kept from knowledge or view : hidden
b : marked by the habit of discretion : closemouthed
c : working with hidden aims or methods : undercover a secret agent
d : not acknowledged : unavowed a secret bride
e : conducted in secret a secret trial
2 : remote from human frequentation or notice : secluded
3 : revealed only to the initiated : esoteric
4 : designed to elude observation or detection a secret panel
5 : containing information whose unauthorized disclosure could endanger national security — compare confidential, top secret

secret

noun

Definition of secret (Entry 2 of 2)

1a : something kept hidden or unexplained : mystery
b : something kept from the knowledge of others or shared only confidentially with a few
c : a method, formula, or process used in an art or operation and divulged only to those of one's own company or craft : trade secret
d secrets plural : the practices or knowledge making up the shared discipline or culture of an esoteric society
2 : a prayer traditionally said inaudibly by the celebrant just before the preface of the mass
3 : something taken to be a specific or key to a desired end the secret of longevity
in secret
: in a private place or manner

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Other Words from secret

Adjective

secretly adverb

Choose the Right Synonym for secret

Adjective

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 secret in a Sentence

Adjective

Her secret wish is to become a senator. The message was written in secret code. I don't know the secret password. He was sent on a secret mission. They engaged in secret negotiations with the enemy. She tried to keep her marriage secret. They've been very secret about their plans.

Noun

Don't tell him about the party—it's a secret. I'm going to tell you a secret, but you have to promise not to tell anyone else. You always look great. What's your secret? She shared her beauty secrets with the group. The secret to a good sauce is the base. the secrets of the universe one of nature's greatest secrets
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

There were several theories circulating [about] why the papyrus was written in mirror script: to hide a secret message? Kiona N. Smith, Ars Technica, "After 500 years, a UV lamp solves the mystery of the Basel Papyrus," 19 July 2018 In 1914, two months into the Great War, Schwab received a secret message from the British War Office. Jonathan Schifman, Popular Mechanics, "The Entire History of Steel," 9 July 2018 Saudi leaders have kept their links to Israel secret, worried about the political costs of a more open relationship with Israel. Summer Said, WSJ, "Covert Saudi Outreach to Israel Sputters After Journalist’s Murder," 18 Dec. 2018 Their secret to doing so without using CGI for the actors? Taylor Mead, House Beautiful, "How The Elf Set Designers Built Santa's Workshop Around Will Ferrell," 8 Nov. 2018 In the chaos that followed, the NKVD — Stalin’s intelligence agency and forerunner of the KGB — made a mistake that would doom all the Soviet agents who would infiltrate the Manhattan Project, the top-secret American effort to build an atomic bomb. Tim Folger, Discover Magazine, "Chance Encounters," 17 Aug. 2018 Its secret, if there is one, has been players who care passionately for the national team and fight to the very end. Jonathan Wilson, SI.com, "Croatia's Character, Resiliency on Full Display in Shocking Run to World Cup Final," 11 July 2018 Escotto's lawyer contends the secret recording is legal because it was taken in a public space, the Herald reports. Joel Shannon, USA TODAY, "Concerned mom secretly recorded her son's kindergarten teacher to back up bullying claim," 6 July 2018 The Air Force’s secret stealth bomber program has passed a major early milestone, according to Air Force officials. Joe Pappalardo, Popular Mechanics, "New U.S. Secret Bomber Program Passes Critical Design Review," 6 Dec. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The secret to pulling them off with a dose of that je ne sois quoi? Lauren Valenti, Vogue, "The French Girl’s Guide to Bangs, According to 3 Parisian It Girls," 7 Jan. 2019 The secret: hundreds of hollow, rigid spines lining the surface of the tongue, according to a recent paper published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, "Science says your cat’s tongue is ideally suited for grooming fur," 28 Dec. 2018 The other secret to ensuring your bird turns out browned? Audrey Bruno, SELF, "How to Roast a Turkey if You've Never Done It Before," 20 Nov. 2018 The new movie Hereditary, a supernatural thriller about family secrets, is one of the scariest films in years. Geek's Guide To The Galaxy, WIRED, "Satanists Just Aren’t Scary Anymore," 14 July 2018 The dirty secret of the Brexit debate is that most British politicians are not so much hostile to the European Union as bored by it. The Economist, "The special relationship once enriched Britain’s politics. No longer," 5 July 2018 Even so, its precise location has remained a secret (although one website has published its purported coordinates). Robert Earle Howells, SFChronicle.com, "Should we hide the locations of Earth’s greatest trees?," 3 July 2018 Not a great place to spill secrets, the waiter said. Richard Ruelas, azcentral, "Visiting the London wine bar that popped the cork on the Trump investigation," 22 June 2018 For those without access to maternal figures willing to share these secrets, the book can be something of an ancestral lifeline. Hannah Giorgis, Bon Appetit, "How Freda DeKnight’s Cookbook, ‘A Date with a Dish’ Inspired Generations of Black Cooks," 19 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'secret.' 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 secret

Adjective

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

Noun

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

History and Etymology for secret

Adjective

Middle English, from Anglo-French secré, secret, from Latin secretus, from past participle of secernere to separate, distinguish, from se- apart + cernere to sift — more at secede, certain

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Dictionary Entries near secret

secours

secrecy

sec reg

secret

secreta

secret admirer

secretage

Statistics for secret

Last Updated

14 Jan 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for secret

The first known use of secret was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for secret

secret

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of secret

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: kept hidden from others : known to only a few people

: keeping information hidden from others

secret

noun

English Language Learners Definition of secret (Entry 2 of 2)

: a fact or piece of information that is kept hidden from other people

: a special or unusual way of doing something to achieve a good result

: something that cannot be explained

secret

adjective
se·​cret | \ ˈsē-krət \

Kids Definition of secret

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : hidden from the knowledge of others a secret staircase Keep your plans secret.
2 : done, made, or working in a way that no other or only a few other people know about a secret attack a secret agent

Other Words from secret

secretly adverb

secret

noun

Kids Definition of secret (Entry 2 of 2)

: something kept or planned to be kept from others' knowledge

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More from Merriam-Webster on secret

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for secret

Spanish Central: Translation of secret

Nglish: Translation of secret for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of secret for Arabic Speakers

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