\ ˈsnēk How to pronounce sneak (audio) \
sneaked\ ˈsnēkt How to pronounce sneaked (audio) \ or snuck\ ˈsnək How to pronounce snuck (audio) \; 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



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



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


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


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 Over the next few years, the population that surrendered at the border to federal agents or were caught sneaking over contained an abnormally high number of families. Anna Giaritelli, Washington Examiner, "Smugglers sneaking single adults over border after years of ferrying families," 10 Feb. 2020 To torment the village schoolmaster, the rantipoles sneak into his house and load his favorite pipe with gunpowder. Meghan Cox Gurdon, WSJ, "Children’s Books: Many Ways of Making Mischief," 7 Feb. 2020 The Raiders need a win, plus a lot of help elsewhere, in order to sneak into the playoffs. Brian Rudd, USA TODAY Sportsbook Wire, "Oakland Raiders at Denver Broncos odds, picks, and best bets," 26 Dec. 2019 Duke missed the Final Four despite appearing unbeatable at full strength, and those Arizona State and Oklahoma teams barely snuck into the NCAA Tournament field as No. Hayes Gardner, The Courier-Journal, "Morning Coffee: Is it just us, or is this college basketball season particularly crazy?," 17 Dec. 2019 The team also snuck in clips of their own cats before finalizing the survey and blasting it out on social media. Carrie Arnold, National Geographic, "Are you a cat whisperer? A few special people can read feline expressions.," 4 Dec. 2019 Still, even sneak peeks at new blood cancer data can sway opinions and move stock prices. Adam Feuerstein, STAT, "ASH preview: Celgene, Bluebird, and J&J out with early but telling data in blood cancer," 6 Nov. 2019 But President Roosevelt's eight-year-old son, Archie, supposedly snuck a wee tree upstairs past his dad, squirreling it away in a sewing room closet. Jill Gleeson, Country Living, "The White House Christmas Tree Tradition Goes Back Farther Than You Might Think," 19 Sep. 2019 As the victim slept in the trailer, Schmidt sneaked inside and stabbed him, the prosecutor said during his opening statement. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Prosecutor: Iraq war veteran stabbed sleeping stranger ‘just because he wanted to kill somebody’," 11 Sep. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The preliminary rankings, based on games through Friday, are designed to be a sneak peek at the selection process before the official seeds are revealed on Selection Sunday, which is March 15., "Indiana gives Bob Knight a warm homecoming," 9 Feb. 2020 Reporter Hannah Drown will broadcast live video on’s Facebook page Friday around 4 p.m. to give you a sneak peek of the events. Hannah Drown, cleveland, "One-million brick bar, illuminated adult ball pit at Mayfield Heights this weekend: See sneak peek video," 7 Feb. 2020 Over Louisville is almost here: Here's your sneak peek of some of the airshow acts How does the pin save me money? Kirby Adams, The Courier-Journal, "The 2020 Kentucky Derby Festival Pegasus Pin is here. How it helps you save money, win big," 7 Feb. 2020 As the world anxiously awaits Jennifer Lopez and Shakira's upcoming Super Bowl Halftime Show, the two superstar divas are supplying fans with sneak peeks into their sure-to-be-stellar performance this Sunday. Harper's BAZAAR, "The Best Behind-the-Scenes Shots of J.Lo and Shakira's Upcoming Super Bowl Halftime Show," 28 Jan. 2020 All those looks require major prep work and, lucky for us, many stars share a sneak peek behind the scenes well before the red carpet starts. Angela Trakoshis, Allure, "Here's How Your Favorite Celebrities Are Getting Ready for the Grammys," 26 Jan. 2020 Samsung gave us a sneak peek of its new camera array in early January with the S10 and Note 10 Lite editions, which feature a prominent rectangular bump in the top left corner. Michael Simon, PCWorld, "Samsung Galaxy S20 preview: This one goes past 11 with more screen, more cameras, more everything," 22 Jan. 2020 In fact, she's worn unreleased products without anyone knowing, giving fans a sneak peek at products before they were even announced. Lauren Rearick, Teen Vogue, "Rihanna’s Daily Makeup Routine Includes Three Fenty Beauty Products," 21 Jan. 2020 The stars and the filmmakers give a sneak peek of clips from the film ahead of its Sundance world premiere. Mia Galuppo, The Hollywood Reporter, "Sundance: Issa Rae, Kerry Washington Set for MACRO Lodge Programming," 17 Jan. 2020 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


1594, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1


circa 1643, in the meaning defined at sense 1


circa 1859, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for sneak


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

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Time Traveler for sneak

Time Traveler

The first known use of sneak was in 1594

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Statistics for sneak

Last Updated

13 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Sneak.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 17 Feb. 2020.

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More Definitions for sneak


How to pronounce sneak (audio)

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
British, old-fashioned : to tell someone (such as a parent or teacher) about something wrong that someone else has done



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

US, informal : a person who acts in a secret and usually dishonest way



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

: done while others are not paying attention


\ ˈsnēk How to pronounce sneak (audio) \
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



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

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for sneak

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with sneak

Spanish Central: Translation of sneak

Nglish: Translation of sneak for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of sneak for Arabic Speakers

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