\ 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 So what if the Cubs and Cardinals beat each other up in the final week and let the Brewers sneak past them to the National League Central title, forcing the longtime rivals to meet again with the season on the line? Paul Sullivan,, "What’s the worst that can happen to the Cubs this season? Here are 10 scenarios.," 16 Sep. 2019 Alcohol isn't served either, but no one would blame you for sneaking down to the restaurant, Old Yellowstone Garage, for a drink or two. Leena Kim, Town & Country, "The World's Hardest Ski Destination Has a New Wellness Retreat," 13 Sep. 2019 The newest watch will come with an always-on display (ideal for sneaking a peek at the time during work meetings, says Apple's Stan Ng). Irina Ivanova, CBS News, "Annual Apple event promises new iPhone, watch models against a backdrop of slowing sales," 10 Sep. 2019 Their early relationship mainly consisted of late-night meet-ups at hotels and sneaking out the back entrances of restaurants, according to Page Six. Martha Ross, The Mercury News, "Why did Katie Holmes finally end her not-so-secret relationship with Jamie Foxx?," 20 Aug. 2019 Kylie Jenner has been quite active on her YouTube channel this year, as she's been using it as a way to give her fans another sneak peek into her world. Kaleigh Fasanella, Allure, "Kylie Jenner and Khloé Kardashian Filmed a Drunk Makeup Tutorial Together," 10 Aug. 2019 Woodmansee knew all about Gypsy's plan to sneak out and meet Godejohn at a local movie theater. Alexis Jones, Marie Claire, "Is Lacey From 'The Act' a Real Person? Gypsy Rose Blanchard's Friend Does Exist," 21 Mar. 2019 That night, the White House was lit in rainbow colors, and Michelle grabbed Malia’s hand to sneak out and watch the celebration from the shadows of her own lawn. Elisabeth Egan, Glamour, "With Becoming, Michelle Obama Proves She's Just Like You, Me, and Everyone We Know," 13 Nov. 2018 But as me and all the other Indian kids who grew up sneaking packets out of the pantry after dinner know, Fatafat is basically candy. Priya Krishna, Bon Appétit, "I Pop These Digestive Pills Like Candy (Because They Basically Are)," 7 Sep. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Along with the first sneak peek, PEOPLE can exclusively announce that the three-night special Taken At Birth will air Oct. 9 through Oct. 11. Aurelie Corinthios,, "New TLC Special Taken At Birth Dives into Shocking 'Hicks Babies' Black Market Adoption Scandal," 17 Sep. 2019 Rihanna fans may have to wait a few more months for some new music, but one thing the Navy won’t have to wait on is a sneak peek of her Savage x Fenty fashion show. Ashley Rushford, Essence, "NYFW: Savage x Fenty Held A Top-Secret Show In Brooklyn Lastnight," 11 Sep. 2019 While viewers will be able to see all the costumes in action once season 2 premieres on Wednesday, September 25, eager fans can get a sneak peek by looking at videos and photos of the fashion show below. Cady Lang, Time, "Panda, Flamingo, Ice Cream, Tree: See the Outrageous New Masked Singer Season 2 Costumes," 16 Sep. 2019 Community members got a sneak peek of the vehicle during the Greater Tomball Area Chamber of Commerce Mobility and Transportation Committee meeting Sept. 10 at Tomball Fire Station 1. Melanie Feuk, Houston Chronicle, "Community gets sneak peek at Tomball’s new $1.5M fire truck," 11 Sep. 2019 Funko fans got a sneak peek at the packaging via an Instagram post, and the choice of coloring stays true to the identity of each villain. Lauren Rearick, Teen Vogue, "Funko Announced Its Disney Villains Makeup Line," 31 Aug. 2019 Ahead of the big game, NBC released a sneak peek at the new song and everything that went into producing it—and by the looks of things, this year's version won't disappoint. Kelly O'sullivan, Country Living, "Carrie Underwood’s 'Sunday Night Football' Theme Song Is Changing Again This Year," 28 Aug. 2019 Alabama fans all can get a sneak peek at Alabama running back commit Roydell Williams this week without leaving the comfort of their own homes. Josh Bean |, al, "How to watch Alabama RB commit Roydell Williams on TV Thursday," 28 Aug. 2019 Meghan Markle gives a sneak peek at her upcoming capsule collection of charitable workwear in a video posted to the Duke and Duchess of Sussex's Instagram Story. Erica Gonzales, Harper's BAZAAR, "Meghan Markle Makes a Surprise Appearance at a Photo Shoot, and She Couldn't Look Happier," 21 Aug. 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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Statistics for sneak

Last Updated

6 Nov 2019

Time Traveler for sneak

The first known use of sneak was in 1594

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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

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 engage in dissolute behavior

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