\ 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

Erik Haula, VGK — ​All ​good stories need a hero, and Haula played the part beuatifully in Vegas, getting Quick to open up just enough to sneak the game-winner through. 3. Tim Hackett,, "Stanley Cup Playoffs Roundup: Flyers Rebound, Jets Soar, Haula a Hero," 14 Apr. 2018 The number of people arrested for crossing illegally has plunged in the last decade and is near its lowest level since the mid-1990s, illustrating a substantial downward trend in the number of migrants trying to sneak in. Christopher Rugaber, The Seattle Times, "AP FACT CHECK: Trump’s speech exaggerates border peril," 6 Feb. 2019 Trying to sneak a ball by Kerber is something akin to trying to put one past a brick wall. Howard Fendrich,, "Angelique Kerber outplays Serena Williams, wins her first Wimbledon title," 14 July 2018 This is not the first time someone has tried to sneak a snake onto a flight. Wayne K. Roustan,, "Officers stop hidden snake from getting on plane," 10 July 2018 Vita and her brother would also play cards on the stairs going up to the roof and try to sneak into the 5 cent movies as often as possible., "Vita Gray," 10 July 2018 The risky short targeted its rival by featuring a Coke delivery man trying to sneak a bottle of Pepsi out of a store cooler. Fiza Pirani, ajc, "Are these the best Super Bowl ads of all time?," 10 July 2018 But DiCiccio also claimed that Stanton and the City Manager's Office were lying for months and trying to sneak in the tax increase through the budget process. Philip Athey, azcentral, "Did Phoenix leaders raise property taxes and lie about it?," 9 July 2018 Vardakostas started working the grill, sneaking free food to friends from his private middle school between shifts. Lauren Smiley, WIRED, "The Mission to Build the Ultimate Burger Bot," 21 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The exhibition itself opens to the public on Thursday, May 9, making tonight’s gala something of a sneak peek at the fantastical papal and contemporary designer garments on view. Emily Farra, Vogue, "Met Gala 2019 Live Blog: Updates from the Red Carpet," 6 May 2019 One of their friends, Diplo, was on hand to film everything for the 'gram, giving us a sneak peek into what went down and what Sophie was wearing. Marina Liao, Marie Claire, "Shop Sophie Turner's Exact Wedding Jumpsuit and Shoes Right Now," 2 May 2019 Not helping our anxiety about it, though, are these new sneak-peek photos from episode three that HBO just dropped. Glamour, "Uh-oh, Sansa Looks Worried in These New Game of Thrones Photos," 24 Apr. 2019 Ginger Spice) just posted an Instagram video with a sneak peek of the Spice Girls reunion tour. Katherine J. Igoe, Marie Claire, "Geri Horner Dances to an Iconic Spice Girls Track in This Sneak Peek," 9 Apr. 2019 Weiss gave her Instagram followers a sneak peek inside the event, and there were hundreds of beautiful pink flowers at the venue. Nicole Saunders, Harper's BAZAAR, "Beyoncé Sang "Happy Birthday" to Diana Ross at Her 75th Birthday Party," 28 Mar. 2019 In an Instagram post, the designer revealed a sneak peek of a few handmade pillows she's designed with Loloi Rugs. Elizabeth Gulino, House Beautiful, "Joanna Gaines Has a Pillow Collection in the Works, and I Want Them All," 4 Mar. 2019 Mattel gave their first sneak peek at the BTS dolls earlier this week, beginning with a tweet on Tuesday, March 19 that featured a close-up shot of the doll version of RM and his iconic dimple in his left cheek. Allie Gemmill, Allure, "BTS's RM Mattel Doll Features RM's Iconic Dimple," 21 Mar. 2019 Today, Netflix blessed us with an intense, nearly three-minute-long sneak peek of the hit sci-fi series, teasing Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown) and her crew, gigantic demogorgons, and some adorable teenage hijinks. Nicole Saunders, Harper's BAZAAR, "The Stranger Things Season 3 Trailer Is Finally Here and I Am Not Okay," 20 Mar. 2019

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

24 Apr 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

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