se·​cre·​tive | \ ˈsē-krə-tiv How to pronounce secretive (audio) , 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

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 Police commissions like those in Oakland and San Francisco have for years helped shape department policies and recommend discipline, shedding some light on what have long been highly secretive internal decisions. Megan Cassidy,, "Election 2020: A breakdown of the Bay Area’s police reform ballot measures," 25 Sep. 2020 In short, the Southwest — including some mountains in the Land of Enchantment. Sitting on a plateau north of Santa Fe, Los Alamos County, New Mexico may be most famous for being the secretive birthplace of the atomic bomb during World War II. Wyatte Grantham-philips, USA TODAY, "These are the healthiest US communities in 2020," 22 Sep. 2020 For years, the bank’s culture remained regimented, secretive. Bernhard Warner, Fortune, "From bailout debacle to global dominance: Inside the turnaround at UBS," 21 Sep. 2020 According to BuzzFeed, congressional committees looking into issues having to do with the 2016 presidential election got access to thousands of the secretive reports. Stephen Gandel, CBS News, "U.S. banks handled trillions of dollars in "suspicious" transactions, report says," 21 Sep. 2020 Short-eared dogs are so secretive that local residents and researchers alike rarely see them in the wild. Theresa Machemer, Smithsonian Magazine, "The Amazon’s ‘Ghost Dogs’ Face 30 Percent Habitat Loss," 6 May 2020 He is nattily dressed, learned, brusque and secretive. Sam Sacks, WSJ, "‘Piranesi’ Review: A Fantastic Puzzle from Susanna Clarke," 11 Sep. 2020 The Bears have promised significant changes to their running game but have been strategically secretive about the specifics. Dan Wiederer,, "‘I thought I tore something’: Bears running back David Montgomery is taking the cautious route in his recovery from a scary groin injury," 10 Sep. 2020 The Trump administration is engaged in an assertive campaign to stem China’s vast and sometimes secretive efforts to leverage its global presence for its own ambitious ends. Michael Johns Jr., National Review, "Australia Faces Down the Dragon," 8 Sep. 2020

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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Time Traveler for secretive

Time Traveler

The first known use of secretive was in 1835

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Statistics for secretive

Last Updated

29 Sep 2020

Cite this Entry

“Secretive.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 1 Oct. 2020.

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More Definitions for secretive


How to pronounce secretive (audio)

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 How to pronounce secretive (audio) , si-ˈkrē- \

Kids Definition of secretive

: tending to act in secret or keep secrets

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