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

Microsoft has been sneaking some holiday gifts into its email newsletters recently. Tom Warren, The Verge, "Microsoft has been hiding $10 gift cards in newsletter emails," 18 Dec. 2018 The process of navigating endless salon appointments and hours spent in an online inspiration rabbit hole paired with the sneaking temptation of splurging on (or investing in) Haute Couture can feel identical in its addictive quality. Christian Oth, Harper's BAZAAR, "17 Non-Traditional Gowns For the Renegade Bride," 1 Nov. 2018 The government, represented by Catherine Keener as a rather heartless supervisor, is worried that cartels are now sneaking terrorists across the border with Mexico. Bill Goodykoontz, azcentral, "'Sicario: Day of the Soldado' lacks ambition of the original," 28 June 2018 With everyone racing to the left, maybe Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper has a shot at owning a moderate lane all to himself and sneaking in. Matthew Yglesias, Vox, "The comically large 2020 Democratic field, explained," 17 Dec. 2018 The table fills with plates of food: tender filet mignon for her; bowls of butter dumplings and sautéed spinach; a large steak for him, still sizzling with heat; and hash browns, which Wozniacki has ordered and Lee sneaks forkfuls of. Louisa Thomas, Vogue, "A Night Out With Caroline Wozniacki and David Lee, Sports’ Most Romantic Couple," 11 Dec. 2018 Way to go, Riley, for sneaking in there!) Shorter names are gaining ground for boys. Marisa Lascala, Good Housekeeping, "These Are the Most Popular Baby Names of 2018 for Boys and Girls," 29 Nov. 2018 And the texture feels like sneaking a nap in a fancy hotel room in the middle of the day. Kelsey Keith, Curbed, "My holy grail bed sheets—that friends also love," 23 Aug. 2018 The evening kicked off as Swift, taking a break from her Reputation tour, snuck into a screening of Alwyn's new movie, The Favourite at the New York Film Festival—literally going through the back door to meet up with him. Krystin Arneson, Glamour, "Taylor Swift and Joe Alwyn Had a Date Night, and Pics Actually Exist," 29 Sep. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

This year's message aired on Christmas day at 10 a.m. ET, but the Kensington Royal Instagram account gave fans a sneak peek from her address on Christmas Eve. Kayla Keegan, Good Housekeeping, "Queen Elizabeth II’s Christmas Message Features a Rare Prince Charles Photo," 25 Dec. 2018 Ariana Grande Ariana Grande gave fans a sneak peek at her Christmas tree on Instagram Stories. Halie Lesavage, Glamour, "Here's How Celebrities Celebrated Christmas 2018," 24 Dec. 2018 The singer-songwriter also gave the crowd a sneak peak into new music dropping this Friday (July 6). Monica Mercuri, Billboard, "Carrie Underwood Lights Up Spotify Hot Country Live Show on 4th of July," 5 July 2018 Follow azcentral on Facebook for a variety of live videos, from a Red for Ed rally: To a sneak-peak of what's new at Disneyland: And even cute animals: Facebook was launched in 2004, and then later introduced live video in 2016. Arizona Republic, azcentral, "Happy #SMDay! These are our favorite social-media innovations," 30 June 2018 At the end of Talking Dead, a sneak peak of the next episode of Fear the Walking Dead debuted: a scene in which a fully functional Morgan works alongside a relatively stable (if somewhat drunk) Strand to kill some zombies. Josh Wigler, The Hollywood Reporter, "'Fear the Walking Dead' Star Confirms "Dangerous" and "Ferocious" Kim Dickens Twist," 10 June 2018 Stomberg and architect Billie Tsien of Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects/Partners invited the Globe in for a sneak peak. Cate Mcquaid, BostonGlobe.com, "A New Hampshire art museum faces the future," 10 May 2018 Getty ImagesDaniel Zuchnik Hilariously, Rodriguez also gave us a sneak peek of how J.Lo got that enormous train to the venue: bunched up like an enormous, pink loofah. Katherine J. Igoe, Marie Claire, "Alex Rodriguez Was the Sweetest Boyfriend at J.Lo's Movie Premiere," 13 Dec. 2018 But young Ian found him alive and well, working as a blacksmith in the American colonies, and a sneak peek of this Sunday's episode shows him helping Claire collect water from a stream near Fraser's Ridge. Caroline Hallemann, Town & Country, "Outlander Sneak Peek: Watch Caitriona Balfe and Duncan Lacroix in New Footage of This Week's Episode," 7 Dec. 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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Dictionary Entries near sneak

SND

snd

Snead

sneak

sneak boat

sneak box

sneak-cup

Statistics for sneak

Last Updated

16 Jan 2019

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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More from Merriam-Webster on sneak

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with sneak

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for sneak

Spanish Central: Translation of sneak

Nglish: Translation of sneak for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of sneak for Arabic Speakers

Comments on sneak

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