1

sneak

verb \ ˈsnēk \
Updated on: 9 Dec 2017

Definition of sneak

sneaked play \ˈsnēkt\ or snuck play \ˈsnək\; sneaking
intransitive verb
1 : to go stealthily or furtively : slink
  • snuck out early
2 : to act in or as if in a furtive manner
3 : to carry the football on a quarterback sneak
transitive verb
: to put, bring, or take in a furtive or artful manner
  • sneak a smoke
sneak up on
: to approach or act on stealthily

sneaked vs. snuck

From its earliest appearance in print in the late 19th century as a dialectal and probably uneducated form, the past and past participle snuck has risen to the status of standard and to approximate equality with sneaked. It is most common in the U.S. and Canada but has also been spotted in British and Australian English.


Examples of sneak in a Sentence

  1. They tried to sneak into the movie without paying.

  2. She sneaked some cigars through customs.

  3. He snuck a few cookies out of the jar while his mother wasn't looking.

  4. They caught him trying to sneak food into the theater.

  5. Can I sneak a peek at your quiz answers?

Recent Examples of sneak from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'sneak.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Origin and Etymology of sneak

akin to Old English snīcan to sneak along, Old Norse snīkja

sneak Synonyms

Synonym Discussion of sneak

lurk, skulk, slink, sneak mean to behave so as to escape attention. lurk implies a lying in wait in a place of concealment and often suggests an evil intent.
    • suspicious men lurking in alleyways
skulk suggests more strongly cowardice or fear or sinister intent.
    • something skulking in the shadows
slink implies moving stealthily often merely to escape attention.
    • slunk around the corner
sneak may add an implication of entering or leaving a place or evading a difficulty by furtive or underhanded methods.
    • sneaked out early

2

sneak

noun

Definition of sneak

1 : a person who acts in a stealthy, furtive, or shifty manner
2 a : a stealthy or furtive move
b : an unobserved departure or escape
3 : sneaker 2 usually used in plural

Examples of sneak in a Sentence

  1. What a rotten sneak! I should have known not to trust her.

  2. He ran a sneak up the middle for a touchdown.

Recent Examples of sneak from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'sneak.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of sneak

circa 1643

sneak Synonyms


3

sneak

adjective

Definition of sneak

1 : carried on secretly : clandestine
2 : occurring without warning : surprise
  • a sneak attack

Examples of sneak in a Sentence

  1. a sneak attack on the nation's capitol

Recent Examples of sneak from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'sneak.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of sneak

circa 1859



SNEAK Defined for English Language Learners

sneak

verb

Definition of sneak for English Language Learners

  • : to move quietly and secretly in order to avoid being noticed

  • : to take or bring (something) secretly and often quickly

  • : to tell someone (such as a parent or teacher) about something wrong that someone else has done


sneak

noun

Definition of sneak for English Language Learners

  • : a person who acts in a secret and usually dishonest way


sneak

adjective

Definition of sneak for English Language Learners

  • : done while others are not paying attention


SNEAK Defined for Kids

1

sneak

verb \ ˈsnēk \

Definition of sneak for Students

sneaked \ˈsnēkt\ or snuck \ˈsnək\; sneaking
: to move, act, bring, put, or take in a sly or secret way
  • Ina-Rae lifted her desktop to sneak peeks at her valentines …
  • —Richard Peck, A Year Down Yonder

2

sneak

noun

Definition of sneak for Students

: a person who acts in a sly or secret way


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