se·cre·tive | \ ˈsē-krə-tiv , si-ˈkrē- \

Definition of secretive 

: disposed to secrecy : not open or outgoing in speech, activity, or purposes

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Other words from secretive

secretively adverb
secretiveness noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for secretive


close, closemouthed, dark, reticent, uncommunicative


communicative, open

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Choose the Right Synonym for secretive

silent, taciturn, reticent, reserved, secretive mean showing restraint in speaking. silent implies a habit of saying no more than is needed. the strong, silent type taciturn implies a temperamental disinclination to speech and usually connotes unsociability. taciturn villagers reticent implies a reluctance to speak out or at length, especially about one's own affairs. was reticent about his plans reserved implies reticence and suggests the restraining influence of caution or formality in checking easy informal conversational exchange. greetings were brief, formal, and reserved secretive, too, implies reticence but usually carries a suggestion of deviousness and lack of frankness or of an often ostentatious will to conceal. the secretive research and development division

Examples of secretive in a Sentence

He's very secretive about his work. the intelligence agency remained secretive despite the media's demands for more openness in government

Recent Examples on the Web

Taylor Swift and British actor Joe Alwyn have been unapologetically secretive about their relationship since its start last year. Rita Thompson, Billboard, "Taylor Swift Holds Hands With Boyfriend Joe Alwyn in Turks and Caicos: See the Sweet Pic," 10 July 2018 New residents must win the blessing of the board of Shek O Development, the secretive private company that owns the country club and, since the 1930s, has leased the land on which the luxury properties are built. Eamon Barrett, Fortune, "Here's Where the Billionaire Founders of Alibaba and Tencent Bought Homes in Hong Kong," 21 June 2018 This whole episode should be a cautionary tale: If a secretive tech company is claiming to revolutionize an entire industry with technology that still hasn’t been validated, be skeptical. Julia Belluz, Vox, "Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes has been charged with criminal fraud," 15 June 2018 The meeting was described as a big win for the secretive, economically depressed nation of 25 million people. John Bacon, USA TODAY, "Pompeo rejects North Korea claims, says sanctions remain until nukes are gone," 14 June 2018 Anduril is also staffed by former executives from the secretive data-crunching company Palantir, which has done for government industries in the past and raised red flags about intrusive surveillance. Shoshana Wodinsky, The Verge, "Palmer Luckey’s border control tech has already caught dozens of people," 11 June 2018 Getting a read on Mr. Kim is difficult because North Korea is arguably the world’s most secretive nation, all but cut off from global phone lines and internet, and obscured behind a kaleidoscope of propaganda. John Lyons, WSJ, "From ‘Punk Kid’ to 21st Century Tyrant: Kim Jong Un Seizes His Moment," 8 June 2018 The 11th-hour deal between the two parties came after weeks of intense, and sometimes secretive, meetings between Di Maio and Salvini after the president threatened to impose a technocratic caretaker government. Jason Horowitz,, "Italy’s populists get a green light to govern; some see a threat to EU," 23 May 2018 Blue Origin, the secretive rocket company headed by Amazon bigwig Jeff Bezos, is close to testing the safety system for ejecting crew from its New Shepard rocket in case of emergency. Avery Thompson, Popular Mechanics, "Blue Origin Is About to Test Its Astronaut-Saving Emergency System," 8 Sep. 2016

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

1835, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for secretive

back-formation from secretiveness, partial translation of French secrétivité

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Statistics for secretive

Last Updated

4 Sep 2018

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Time Traveler for secretive

The first known use of secretive was in 1835

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More Definitions for secretive



English Language Learners Definition of secretive

: not letting people see or know what you are doing or thinking : tending to act in secret


se·cre·tive | \ ˈsē-krə-tiv , si-ˈkrē- \

Kids Definition of secretive

: tending to act in secret or keep secrets

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Comments on secretive

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