secret

adjective
se·​cret | \ ˈsē-krət How to pronounce secret (audio) \

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

Parscale’s growing role remained pretty much a secret for weeks into the general election race. Peter Elkind, ProPublica, "The Myths of the “Genius” Behind Trump’s Reelection Campaign," 11 Sep. 2019 Keep your personal life a secret to avoid being talked about. Eugenia Last, The Mercury News, "Horoscopes: Sept. 2, 2019," 2 Sep. 2019 The Post and HD Media, which publishes the Charleston Gazette-Mail in West Virginia, waged a year-long legal battle for access to the database, which the government and the drug industry had sought to keep secret. Anchorage Daily News, "Just 15% of U.S. pharmacies distributed nearly half of prescription opioid pain pills," 12 Aug. 2019 Though the Dîner en Blanc concept started back in 1988, attending the global, chic and secret all-white affair has really taken off among Black socialites over the last few years. Danielle Pointdujour, Essence, "Dîner en Blanc In Long Island Was A Showcase Of Black Excellence," 17 Sep. 2019 In secret, Ocasek had tweaked the exhaust pipe of his family’s Mercury Comet so as to at least make a louder vroom, if not a faster ride. Spencer Kornhaber, The Atlantic, "How The Cars Upgraded Rock and Roll," 16 Sep. 2019 Spikes, an ex-Disney employee, gained a following for his @BackDoorDisney Twitter account that showed pictures of secret areas and Disney characters unmasked, a look that revealed the less magical side to the theme parks. Gabrielle Russon, orlandosentinel.com, "At Disney World, felony theft charges filed in a strange case involving park collectibles," 16 Sep. 2019 But as the drama unfolded in the Caribbean, another international incident was playing out in secret over eastern Siberia. Alex Hollings, Popular Mechanics, "Why the U-2 Is Such a Badass Plane," 4 Sep. 2019 In secret, Zach tries to leave a message for a missing Bryce. Kaitlin Reilly, refinery29.com, "R29 Binge Club: 13 Reasons Why Season 3 Recap," 24 Aug. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Taking a neutral stance will reveal the dirty secret in monetary policy: Central bankers can’t prevent a recession. Allison Schrager, Quartz, "The ECB, and central banking, is at a crossroads," 11 Sep. 2019 To biologists eager to understand how one species can split into two, the apple maggot fly seemed primed to spill the genetic secrets. Quanta Magazine, "New Hybrid Species Remix Old Genes Creatively," 10 Sep. 2019 Her lawyer, Kathleen DeLaney, said that Starkey’s relationship was not a secret. Arika Herron, Indianapolis Star, "'It's just not right': Fired for her gay marriage, Lynn Starkey is looking for justice," 3 Sep. 2019 That is not a good way to manage the nation’s secrets, nor its history, nor its democracy. The Washington Post, Twin Cities, "Other voices: Government’s ‘unsustainable’ avalanche of secrets," 1 Sep. 2019 Brazil said he was supposed to keep his role as an informant a secret, even from police officers. AZCentral.com, "Don Bolles files: The case of Skippy Brazil, the drug informant who was set on fire," 28 Aug. 2019 The then-rising 19-year-old tennis star kept it all a secret for quite some time, as the media didn’t catch wind of it until 2008. Blake Bakkila, Good Housekeeping, "Rafael Nadal and His Future Wife Xisca Perelló Are Reportedly Getting Married in October," 15 Aug. 2019 Her refusal to treat cosmetic surgery and non-surgical interventions as a shameful secret, one that must be concealed to maintain the myth of the naturally flawless celebrity. Emily Dixon, Marie Claire, "Chrissy Teigen Just Got Armpit Botox to Reduce Sweating: "Best Move I Have Ever Made"," 14 Aug. 2019 Although the company is known to try to keep secrets, its rollout scheduled for new phones is fairly predictable. Don Reisinger, Fortune, "Why You Should Wait Until September to Buy an iPhone," 13 Aug. 2019

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

7 Oct 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 How to pronounce secret (audio) \

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

Comments on secret

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