sneak

verb
\ ˈsnēk \
sneaked\ˈsnēkt \ or snuck\ˈsnək \; sneaking

Definition of sneak 

(Entry 1 of 3)

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

sneak

noun

Definition of sneak (Entry 2 of 3)

1 : a person who acts in a stealthy, furtive, or shifty manner

2a : a stealthy or furtive move

b : an unobserved departure or escape

3 : sneaker sense 2 usually used in plural

sneak

adjective

Definition of sneak (Entry 3 of 3)

1 : carried on secretly : clandestine

2 : occurring without warning : surprise a sneak attack

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Choose the Right Synonym for sneak

Verb

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

sneaked vs. snuck: Usage Guide

Verb

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

Verb

They tried to sneak into the movie without paying. She sneaked some cigars through customs. He snuck a few cookies out of the jar while his mother wasn't looking. They caught him trying to sneak food into the theater. Can I sneak a peek at your quiz answers?

Noun

What a rotten sneak! I should have known not to trust her. He ran a sneak up the middle for a touchdown.

Adjective

a sneak attack on the nation's capitol
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The royal family is celebrating the 100th anniversary of the Royal Air Force today, and although the festivities are formal and grand, there was wiggle room to sneak a few giggles—at least according to Prince William and Kate Middleton. Erica Gonzales, Harper's BAZAAR, "Kate Middleton Catches Prince William Laughing in Westminster Abbey," 10 July 2018 This is not the first time a passenger has attempted to sneak a unique pet onto a flight. Monica Rodriguez, Fortune, "Passenger Tried to Smuggle Large Snake on a Plane, TSA Says," 10 July 2018 But of those 12 on the right, six were to continue on in a mission to sneak behind the opposition. Frank Vaisvilas, Daily Southtown, "Like 'Call of Duty' but a lot more fun: Weekend warriors play paintball scenarios in Crete," 2 July 2018 Shortstop Jose Peraza doubled to lead off the inning and scored on a Scooter Gennett ground ball that snuck under Royals shortstop Alcides Escobar’s glove. Sam Mcdowell, kansascity, "National League’s worst pitching staff shuts down the Royals a second straight night," 13 June 2018 Is there a surprise contender lurking in the ranks that can sneak into the playoffs? Jeremy Fuchs, SI.com, "Power Rankings: Who Else Joins in on the Postseason Fun?," 26 Mar. 2018 There have now been 90 years of Oscar winners and losers and, along with them, 90 years of cheers for deserving victors as well as 90 years of jeers for imposters that snuck into the winner's circle. Todd Mccarthy, The Hollywood Reporter, "Critic’s Picks: Todd McCarthy’s Favorite Best Picture Oscar Winners," 1 Mar. 2018 An angry crowd formed, convinced of James’s guilt, and that evening the police sneaked him out of the jail for his safety and took him by train to Staunton, about 30 miles away. Joe Heim, Washington Post, "Sacred ground, now reclaimed: A Charlottesville story," 7 July 2018 Later her grandfather would sneak her to riding lessons. Hartford Courant, courant.com, "Joan E. Katan," 24 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Fans of The National got another sneak peek at new music on Tuesday (July 10). Alessandra Rincón, Billboard, "The National Perform New Songs 'Quiet Light' and 'So Far So Fast' in Croatia: Watch," 12 July 2018 In addition to the 747 farewell events, United has auctioned flight simulator sessions at its Denver training center and sold tickets to events offering a sneak peek at new Polaris airport lounges for 2,500 miles. Lauren Zumbach, chicagotribune.com, "The new way to use your airline miles: Bears tickets, fancy meals and a walk-on role in a movie," 10 July 2018 Customers will even get a sneak-peek of some Shark Week content ahead of its July 22-29 airing on the Discovery Channel. Ben Mutzabaugh, USA TODAY, "Southwest rolls out five shark-themed Boeing 737s for Shark Week," 9 July 2018 Download the free Amazon app to get a sneak peek of deals a week in advance. Jessica Suriano, azcentral, "How to shop like a pro during Amazon Prime Day," 12 July 2018 As usual, Amazon will unveil a sneak peek of the deals a week early through the Amazon app on July 9. Chris Sims, Indianapolis Star, "Amazon is already offering Prime Day deals before July 16," 5 July 2018 Check back here on Theater Loop for the review; in the meantime, Tribune photographer Terrence Antonio James offers a sneak peek. Chicago Tribune, chicagotribune.com, "'Jesus Christ Superstar' opens this weekend at the Lyric," 27 Apr. 2018 Nat McClatchyTwitter/EnvyNate via Storyful The Star-Telegram and DFW.com got a sneak peek at the driving range and lounge that will open May 5. Nick Tarrant, star-telegram, "Fort Worth native gets his shot at $50,000 on new TV golf competition | Fort Worth Star-Telegram," 6 Apr. 2018 The Johnson County Park & Recreation District board got a sneak peek Wednesday at the swimming pool complex the district will begin operating next year. David Twiddy, kansascity, "Shawnee Mission schools’ aquatic center makes splash with county parks board | The Kansas City Star," 18 Jan. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

Get Ready: Katy Perry Has Released a Sneak Peek of Her New Song And the internet has receipts. Mehera Bonner, Marie Claire, "Get Ready: Katy Perry Has Released a Sneak Peek of Her New Song," 15 Mar. 2017

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.

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First Known Use of sneak

Verb

1594, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1

Noun

circa 1643, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Adjective

circa 1859, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for sneak

Verb

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

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Learn More about sneak

Dictionary Entries near sneak

snd

SND

Snead

sneak

sneak boat

sneak box

sneak-cup

Phrases Related to sneak

sneak peek

Statistics for sneak

Last Updated

11 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for sneak

The first known use of sneak was in 1594

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More Definitions for sneak

sneak

verb

English Language Learners Definition of sneak

 (Entry 1 of 3)

: 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

English Language Learners Definition of sneak (Entry 2 of 3)

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

sneak

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of sneak (Entry 3 of 3)

: done while others are not paying attention

sneak

verb
\ ˈsnēk \
sneaked\ˈsnēkt \ or snuck\ˈsnək \; sneaking

Kids Definition of sneak

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: 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

sneak

noun

Kids Definition of sneak (Entry 2 of 2)

: a person who acts in a sly or secret way

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Comments on sneak

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