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

Area 51, officially named the Nevada Test and Training Range at Groom Lake, is a high-security open training range for the U.S. Air Force in southern Nevada — though the site is still very secretive. Jasmine Aguilera, Time, "Area 51 Is the Internet's Latest Fascination. Here's Everything to Know About the Mysterious Site," 17 July 2019 Former Destiny's Child star Kelly Rowland is just as secretive as her friend Beyonce. Lisa Respers France, CNN, "Heidi Klum is apparently the latest celeb to get married and not tell us," 12 July 2019 Grand jury proceedings are highly secretive under Indiana law. London Gibson, Indianapolis Star, "Indiana judge is indicted for his alleged role in his own shooting at White Castle," 28 June 2019 If Humu identifies a morale problem, such as a feeling among employees that their boss is making questionable decisions or being too secretive, the platform might nudge the manager to explain his decisions more clearly, Mr. Bock says. Sue Shellenbarger, WSJ, "The Robots That Manage the Managers," 15 Apr. 2019 But what worried him most was secretive outside payments for presenting a perspective—such as when a cognitive scientist publishes evidence on the beneficial effects of video gaming while secretly being remunerated by a game company. Tom Chivers, Scientific American, "Does psychology have a conflict-of-interest problem?," 20 July 2019 Few Silicon Valley companies are more secretive than surveillance software provider Palantir, co-founded by Peter Thiel. Emily Dreyfuss, WIRED, "Security News this Week: Palantir Manual Shows How Law Enforcement Tracks Families," 13 July 2019 Manufacturers are too secretive about their supply chains for an outside party to make an informed determination on export law. Ron Amadeo, Ars Technica, "Huawei’s export ban is wider in scope than most people imagine," 10 June 2019 Part of being subversive means being secretive, a quality rare among architects and one at which the Basel duo excel. Ian Volner, WSJ, "Swiss Architecture Firm Herzog & De Meuron Celebrates 40 Years," 4 Nov. 2018

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

7 Aug 2019

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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 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).


a period when something is suspended

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