sleeper cell

noun

Definition of sleeper cell 

: a terrorist cell whose members work under cover in an area until sent into action

Examples of sleeper cell in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Before retreating from its urban strongholds, Islamic State decentralized its command structure, set up sleeper cells, and dug tunnels in the vast desert that spans the two countries. Nancy A. Youssef, WSJ, "ISIS Remnants Fight On, Despite U.S. Campaign," 9 July 2018 The remaining militants have gone underground, putting the onus on intelligence agencies to track down sleeper cells and prevent attacks. Isabel Coles And, WSJ, "Iraq Says It Captured Key Leaders of Islamic State," 10 May 2018 The first is the low-probability but high-impact chance that Putin is hiding money here in the financial equivalent of sleeper cells, ready to slip out and buy influence when a crisis comes. Aaron Gilbreath, Longreads, "England Is a Giant Russian Money Washing Machine," 1 June 2018 Although Iraqi forces are still engaged in mopping-up operations to rid pockets of the country of sleeper cells, terrorist attacks and civilian deaths have dropped sharply since the government declared victory over the Islamic State in December. Margaret Coker And Falih Hassan, New York Times, "These Iraqi Farmers Said No to ISIS. When Night Came They Paid the Price.," 2 May 2018 He was concerned about possible Islamic State sleeper cells hiding in the desert or IEDs that could be left behind by any one of the combatants in Syria’s messy conflict. Raja Abdulrahim, WSJ, "Syria’s War Jolts a Beloved Tradition: Gathering Desert Truffles," 28 Apr. 2018 Also, Assyrians fear the mountain could be mined or shelter IS sleeper cells. Sarah El Deeb, The Christian Science Monitor, "Assyrians in Syria celebrate traditions despite dangers," 3 Apr. 2018 The refugee camps are thought to be full of sleeper cells, padlocked behind wire fencing. The Economist, "Fifteen years after America’s invasion, Iraq is getting back on its feet," 28 Mar. 2018 Daniels is fascinating, a sleeper cell who is unlikely to end this presidency but could yet hasten its demise. Frank Rich, Daily Intelligencer, "The Hidden Logic of Trump’s Staff Exodus," 14 Mar. 2018

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

1968, in the meaning defined above

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Last Updated

28 Aug 2018

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The first known use of sleeper cell was in 1968

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