\ 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


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?


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


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

There’s a scene in the premiere where June sneaks into the McKenzies’ home to try to get Hannah. Julie Kosin, Harper's BAZAAR, "Elisabeth Moss Finally Finds Hope in The Handmaid's Tale," 12 June 2019 Despite being shuttered for decades, plenty of people still sneak inside and post photos and videos online. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Settlement reached in California Theatre dispute," 11 June 2019 But for politicians, the chance to tout a record – or sneak in a jab – is hard to pass up. Christian Science Monitor, "USA | Politics," 7 June 2019 But the real damage was done in 2012, when 13 students from local high schools, along with two adult chaperones from Waterford, sneaked onto the property and smashed the heads and limbs off many of the dinosaurs. John Carlisle,, "LAND OF THE LOST Irish Hills tourist stop owner aims to restore dinosaur park," 6 June 2019 The glitzy, imagined team that challenges for the division, makes the playoffs consistently, and maybe, just maybe, sneaks its way through the American League to play for the World Series., "The Seattle Mariners rebuild – an exercise in patience: Commentary," 6 June 2019 Smugglers then sneak the raw wool into India, where artisans in Kashmir weave it into neck-warming wraps. National Geographic, "A rare antelope is being killed to make $20,000 scarves," 24 Apr. 2019 Only a handful of drivers sneak out in front of the crash. James Lynch, Popular Mechanics, "One Day at Daytona," 22 Mar. 2019 The sudden knock snuck into him and rattled his teeth. Paul Yoon, Harper's magazine, "Run Me to Earth," 10 Mar. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Alex Rodriguez gave us a major sneak peek of the tour (and J. Lo's dance moves) weeks ago. Katherine J. Igoe, Marie Claire, "Jennifer Lopez Just Gave Us Major Hints About Her Wedding Date and Ceremony Details," 14 June 2019 For Callie, the season 2 premiere will reveal the outcome of the Jamal Thompson case, and speaking of which, EW has an exclusive sneak peek at a particularly tense moment between Jamie and Callie. Samantha Highfill,, "Jamie and Callie butt heads over the Jamal case in Good Trouble sneak peek," 10 June 2019 Seventeen got a sneak peak at this week’s new episode of American Beauty Star, Lifetime's hair and makeup reality competition series, and OMG, the makeup looks are magnificent. Erika Trombley, Seventeen, "This "Descendants 3" and "American Beauty Star" Crossover Episode Is To Die For," 20 Feb. 2019 In a sneak peak from Sunday’s new episode of Keeping Up With the Kardashians, courtesy of E! Dan Barna, Glamour, "Kris Jenner Helped Deliver Kylie Jenner's Daughter, Stormi," 21 Sep. 2018 Here are five of our favorite new releases, from Bill Cunningham's memoir to a sneak peak into the Hudson Valley's most magnificent homes. Louis Cheslaw, Condé Nast Traveler, "Fall's Must-Have Fashion and Design Books," 19 Sep. 2018 Members of Congress got a sneak peak at a film about Arizona, Sen. John McCain. Bree Burkitt, USA TODAY, "Sen. John McCain tweets birthday wish to wife, Cindy," 20 May 2018 Taco Heads will also have a sneak peak at the menu for its upcoming Near Southside spinoff Tinie’s Mexican Rotisserie. Robert Philpot, star-telegram, "Tip your hat — or your sombrero — to this list of Cinco de Mayo/Kentucky Derby events | Fort Worth Star-Telegram," 2 May 2018 Get a sneak peak at the new films in the video, above. Joey Morona,, "Movie Minute: 'Avengers: Infinity War' eyes record opening weekend," 26 Apr. 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


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

sneak box


Statistics for sneak

Last Updated

19 Jun 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



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

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

What made you want to look up sneak? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to take the place or position of

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