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

Malaysia’s sultans chose a new king Thursday in a unique and secretive process following the unprecedented abdication of the previous monarch. Yantoultra Ngui, WSJ, "Malaysia Elects New King After Historic Abdication," 24 Jan. 2019 The state of Massachusetts took a step in that direction with its civil lawsuit, which included members of the Sackler family, the wealthy and secretive owners of Purdue Pharma, and several current and former company executives. Barry Meier, Time, "Why Drug Company Executives Haven’t Really Seen Justice for Their Role in the Opioid Crisis," 15 June 2018 An explosive Bloomberg report based on an internal Apple memo details how seriously ultra-secretive Apple takes leaks. Jefferson Graham, USA TODAY, "Apple cracks down on leaks, 12 arrested in 2017 - report," 13 Apr. 2018 For the first time, authorities gave foreign journalists access to the once-secretive apparatus behind the anti-graft campaign which has helped Xi consolidate his rule. Eric Baculinao, NBC News, "China’s President Xi beefs up his anti-corruption crackdown," 27 Feb. 2018 Trump has secretive sources of income and murky financial ties to Saudi interests, and keeps touting entirely bogus statistics about the jobs impact of arms sales to Saudi Arabia. Matthew Yglesias, Vox, "There’s nothing “America First” about Trump’s Saudi policy," 21 Nov. 2018 The secretive conference is held every year at the five-star Verdura Resort. Elise Taylor, Vogue, "Lily James Is on the Dreamiest Italian Vacation," 9 Aug. 2018 The inspector role sounds similar to the secretive testers at the Michelin guide, and indeed the job is both enviable and rigorous. Kaitlin Menza, Town & Country, "Inside the Secret Application Process to Become a Relais & Châteaux Hotel," 31 Jan. 2019 Newsletter Sign-up The call for change is rooted in the belief that Apple’s top-down management system and secretive culture have weakened its China business. Tripp Mickle, WSJ, "Apple’s China Problem May Require a New iPhone," 30 Jan. 2019

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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Last Updated

20 Mar 2019

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The first known use of secretive was in 1835

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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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Comments on secretive

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


to boil down or concentrate

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