\ ˈsnēk How to pronounce sneak (audio) \
sneaked\ ˈsnēkt How to pronounce sneak (audio) \ or snuck\ ˈsnək How to pronounce sneak (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 See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Verb These vehicles are set to carve out a niche as a quiet, go-anywhere scout vehicle, able to allow troops to sneak and peek while avoiding detection. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, 19 May 2022 Leaders should model the importance of time-off by intentionally taking time away from work (without trying to sneak and do work or check work emails). Janice Gassam Asare, Forbes, 16 May 2022 Xi was caught trying to sneak back to the Chinese capital and returned to Shaanxi to dig irrigation ditches. Arkansas Online, 5 Feb. 2022 And their favorite pastime is to try to sneak and steal food that’s hidden inside the toys for their parents. Washington Post, 11 Jan. 2022 Murray says there was ample opportunity while the property was unattended during the day for someone to sneak on and secretly bury the remains. Richard Fetzer, CBS News, 30 Aug. 2021 In both The Hunt for Red October and the novel it was based on, the sub was designed to use its near-silent MHD propulsion to sneak to a position off the eastern seaboard of the U.S., launching its missiles in a surprise attack. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, 9 May 2022 There is no possibility for rain to sneak in this week as warmer temperatures are expected to remain in the forecast for the rest of the week, according to a tweet by the weather service. Amaris Encinas, The Arizona Republic, 15 Mar. 2022 There are also ways to sneak out: bribes to border guards, furtive dashes through unattended parts of the border. Washington Post, 7 Mar. 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Volodymyr Zelenskiy has shown himself to be a charismatic and courageous wartime leader, and the Ukrainian soldiers and armed citizens have distinguished themselves against a formidable army that began the war with a sneak attack. Michael Kimmage, The New Republic, 13 Mar. 2022 For the second time in three games, Alabama was burned on a trick play in special teams with Arkansas’ sneak attack coming in a crucial moment in what ended a 42-35 Crimson Tide win. Michael Casagrande |, al, 20 Nov. 2021 As many of the most powerful strategic radars are fixed, and thus point in just one direction—north, usually—a FOBS or G-FOBS has great potential for an atomic sneak-attack. David Axe, Forbes, 28 Oct. 2021 West then moved his release up to last Sunday, in a sneak attack, ensuring five days of distance between the two rivals. Jordan Rose, Variety, 2 Sep. 2021 What if the French teamed up with Bahrain in a sneak attack? Arkansas Online, 26 June 2021 My first thought went to Ramadan, 1973, when Egypt and Syria launched a sneak attack on Israel. Zev Chafets, Star Tribune, 13 May 2021 Nuclear weapons can generate EMP; even if the president were able to escape a nuclear sneak attack on the White House, the resulting EMP might knock the helicopter down. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, 16 Feb. 2021 The sneak attack killed 2,403 Americans, including 68 civilians. Jamie Mcintyre, Washington Examiner, 7 Dec. 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, 15 Mar. 2017 See More

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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Learn More About sneak

Dictionary Entries Near sneak



sneak boat

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Statistics for sneak

Last Updated

24 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Sneak.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for sneak


\ 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

More from Merriam-Webster on sneak

Nglish: Translation of sneak for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of sneak for Arabic Speakers


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