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

One of Silicon Valley’s most secretive companies, data-mining giant Palantir Technologies, is considering an initial public offering that some banks have valued at as much as $41 billion — one of the largest in recent years. Recode Staff, Recode, "Recode Daily: Uber is building tools to Uber-ize all kinds of work," 19 Oct. 2018 The Guardian’s architecture critic gained remarkable access to the world’s most secretive city, examined here alongside over 300 of Wainwright’s own photos, dominated by symmetrical buildings and sickly pastel hues. Curbed Staff, Curbed, "18 enticing new books on design, cities, and more," 14 Dec. 2018 The most secretive place on earth might be in Beaverton, Oregon. Steff Yotka, Vogue, "Would You Wear the Same Outfit from the Gym to the Club? Nike Is Betting On It with a New Althluxury Collection," 10 Aug. 2018 People who sign these contracts waive their rights to sue and agree to settle disputes through binding arbitration, a process that’s secretive, expensive and final. L.m. Sixel, San Antonio Express-News, "The ties that bind in mandatory arbitration are unraveling," 17 Apr. 2018 The Republican president has also made some of the operations, the ones outside of war zones, more secretive. Emily Bloch, Teen Vogue, "The Trump Administration Is Waging a Drone War in Somalia With Increased Air Strikes," 12 Mar. 2019 December 23, 2018 After 10 years together, Miley and Liam finally tied the knot in a very secretive ceremony. Carolyn Twersky, Seventeen, "A Complete Timeline of Miley Cyrus and Liam Hemsworth's Relationship," 27 Dec. 2018 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

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

1 May 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 sum of money that is sent as a payment

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