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

Keep scrolling for more

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
See More

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

Or cursive can just become some strange and secret writing for grandparents. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Your Say: How can we improve public education?," 14 June 2019 Assange's initial indictment sparked a debate over the First Amendment and whether his alleged role in procuring secret US material constituted protected journalistic activity. Eliza Mackintosh And Vasco Cotovio, CNN, "UK signs Julian Assange's US extradition papers," 13 June 2019 PAW Patrol Live — Based off of the popular animated series of the same name, in this live-action production PAW Patrol discovers a secret treasure map and rescues Cap’n Turbot from a mysterious cavern. Anchorage Daily News, "Say aloha to some ono food and reggae this week," 13 June 2019 Set off on foot into the West Maui Mountains in search of mysterious petroglyphs and secret waterfalls, along the way learning about the sustainable power generated by wind turbines installed on the mountain ridge. National Geographic, "Hawai'i Middle School Expedition," 12 June 2019 But that pairing has been grafted on to an airless setting (the London branch of the MiB, a secret agency that polices alien activity on earth) and a hopelessly convoluted plot, which adds up to 114 minutes of nothing in particular. David Sims, The Atlantic, "Men in Black: International Forgets What Made the Original So Great," 12 June 2019 Mexico countered that no secret deal was in the works. Time, "President Trump and Joe Biden Will Overlap in Iowa After Months of Jabbing Each Other," 11 June 2019 Mexico countered that no secret deal was in the works. Jaclyn Gallucci, Fortune, "Trump and Biden Head to Iowa in a Potential 2020 Preview," 11 June 2019 One word of caution, though: The secret to mastering the secret menu items at Starbucks is in the ordering. Kate Friedman, Glamour, "Starbucks' Secret Menu Is Real: The 41 Best Things to Order," 30 Mar. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The story explores the weight of secrets, the nature of art and identity, the ferocious pull of motherhood—and the danger in believing that following the rules can avert disaster. Alexis Jones, Harper's BAZAAR, "Little Fires Everywhere: Everything We Know About the New Hulu Show," 14 June 2019 Seekers flocked to central Oregon in the early 1980s to learn Indian guru Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh’s secrets to inner peace and communal harmony. oregonlive.com, "‘Wild Wild Country’ leads to ‘Wild Wild’ Portland seminar to evaluate bizarre Rajneeshee episode in Oregon," 14 June 2019 There are wild-goose chases, setbacks, secrets, bombings. Jia Tolentino, The New Yorker, "“The Westing Game,” a Tribute to Labor That Became a Dark Comedy of American Capitalism," 13 June 2019 To create a map of nightlife, Jeff Ferzoco of the project OUTgoing NYC scoured libraries and collected personal anecdotes to find where people could meet openly or in secret. Ryan Williams, National Geographic, "See 100 years of LGBTQ history mapped across New York City," 12 June 2019 According to The Hollywood Reporter, Villeneuve will write and direct the first episode of a new series called Dune: The Sisterhood, which will explore the secret, matriarchal order of the Bene Gesserit. Darren Orf, Popular Mechanics, "'Dune' Director Is Making a TV Show About the Bene Gesserit (aka the Original Jedi)," 11 June 2019 Gunfire isn’t hiding its Dark Souls influences in the slightest, but is focused more on replayability—procedurally generated levels, tons of secrets, lots of different bosses and enemies to populate the world. Brad Chacos, PCWorld, "Watch the biggest reveals from E3 2019's PC Gaming Show," 10 June 2019 The rest of the group — including Madeline (Reese Witherspoon), Jane (Shailene Woodley), and Renata (Laura Dern) — agreed to keep Bonnie’s deed a secret, for both her sake and their own. Lauren Huff, EW.com, "Everything to remember about Big Little Lies before the season 2 premiere," 8 June 2019 Together, Molly and Amy are quite the duo, practically attached to the hip and sharing almost every secret (including the use of a panda plushie as a masturbation helper). Gabe Bergado, Teen Vogue, ""Booksmart" Star Kaitlyn Dever on What Makes the Movie So Funny, the Euphoria of Crushes, and Awkward Sex Scenes," 22 May 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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about secret

Dictionary Entries near secret

secours

secrecy

sec reg

secret

secreta

secret admirer

secretage

Statistics for secret

Last Updated

17 Jun 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for secret

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

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

Keep scrolling for more

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

What made you want to look up secret? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

standardized text or formulaic language

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Finance Words Quiz

  • a-piggy-bank
  • The etymology of mortgage is related most closely to which two words?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Bee Cubed

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

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