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 kids who sneaked Game Boys under their desk in the ‘90s now have wrinkles and mortgages, but the games themselves have been preserved in amber. Patricia Hernandez, The Verge, "The internet’s horrified with Detective Pikachu," 12 Nov. 2018 Harry and Meghan rode around Windsor in the Ascot Landau carriage, and the newlyweds snuck in a second kiss on their romantic ride. Maggie Maloney, Town & Country, "Princess Eugenie and Jack Brooksbank Will Have a Carriage Ride Through Windsor on Their Wedding Day," 18 July 2018 But with the right networking hardware, the new Steam Link app provides a handy, low-friction way to sneak in some passable PC gaming anywhere from the bedroom to the bathroom. Kyle Orland, Ars Technica, "With Steam Link app, your smartphone can be an imperfect gaming monitor," 17 May 2018 Then, the ball was headed into the box by Croatia, allowing Mandzukic to sneak past everybody else to get to the ball first before delivering a shot that Jordan Pickford had no chance of stopping. Khadrice Rollins, SI.com, "Watch: Croatia Grabs Win Over England With Goal in Extra Time," 11 July 2018 For the most part, though, the contacts are a tiny, private treasure, a way to sneak in a visit in the smallest of moments. Beth Teitell, BostonGlobe.com, "Phone contacts: Do you delete the deceased?," 9 July 2018 Confidence: Medium-High Monday remains sunny and humidity is still moderate, but temperatures begin to sneak back up. David Streit, Washington Post, "D.C.-area forecast: Heat won’t budge today, but a nice break expected for the weekend," 5 July 2018 The feel is muscular, almost martial, while sneaking in a bit of bouncy brightness with the rhythmic triplet that leads the melody’s descending notes. Brian Mccollum, Detroit Free Press, "Detroit's global sports anthem: The White Stripes' 'Seven Nation Army'," 29 June 2018 In undersea warfare, quietness is everything, allowing submarines to sneak up on targets and slink away after making their attacks. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "Navy Testing Superhydrophobic Hull Coatings For Submarines," 5 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

In the sneak peek, Sephora revealed what products would be included in its planned $15 and under sale. Lauren Rearick, Teen Vogue, "The Best Beauty Items From Sephora’s Black Friday Sale," 15 Nov. 2018 Zac previously hinted about his super secret date on his Instagram story and even gave a little sneak peek to the gorgeous gown that Joey is wearing. Tamara Fuentes, Seventeen, "Joey King Walked the 2018 Emmys Red Carpet With a Guy Who IS NOT Jacob Elordi," 17 Sep. 2018 The sneak peek of season four has all kinds of troubling-looking situations: Jamie dropping a knife! Caroline Hallemann, Town & Country, "Sam Heughan just surprised fans with a sneak peek of what's next for Jamie and Claire.," 30 July 2018 But what about the quarterback taking the snap and pushing forward on a sneak? Mike Jones, USA TODAY, "NFL has right spirit with new hitting rule, but enforcement could become a mess," 28 Mar. 2018 Rodgers took over and led Green Bay on a nine-play, 42-yard drive and scored the game-clinching TD on a 1-yard sneak with 8:45 to play. Chris Thomas, Detroit Free Press, "Detroit Lions fire Jim Caldwell: A timeline of his tenure," 1 Jan. 2018 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

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

Statistics for sneak

Last Updated

20 Nov 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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