\ 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 On the Cleaver family's 19-acre tobacco farm in LaRue County in the 1990s, a young Travis Cleaver would often sneak animals onto the property while his mother was away at work. Savannah Eadens, The Courier-Journal, "Less than 2% of Kentucky farms are Black-owned. This company is trying to change that," 10 July 2020 The staff offers them hand sanitizer and, following company policy, an employee leads them outside -- only to furtively sneak cash into their pockets. Tamara Qiblawi, CNN, "Dumpster diving, blackouts and suicides. Lebanon's woes laid bare as crisis deepens," 8 July 2020 Saudi border guards also claimed to have foiled an attempt to sneak Captagon into the Kingdom this past Sunday from Jordan, of which Syrian analysts said has been used by regime accomplices in the past for drug missions. Fox News, "Massive 'ISIS drug bust' in Italy connected to the Syrian regime, not the terrorist group, analysts argue," 9 July 2020 The number of days McCollum will be away depends on whether the Blazers can sneak into the playoffs, and if so, how long their playoff run will last. oregonlive, "Trail Blazers’ CJ McCollum originally voted against playing in NBA restart. He changed his mind, and is trying to help himself and teammates play safely," 6 July 2020 Some surfers, however, managed to sneak past the police and ride the waves. Michael Cabanatuan,, "Forget the holiday traditions this Fourth of July as coronavirus means new rules," 3 July 2020 Authorities say the Taylors helped sneak Ghosn out of Japan on a private jet with the former Nissan boss hidden in a large box. Washington Post, "Japan seeks extradition of Americans accused in Ghosn escape," 3 July 2020 Beckham wasn’t able to practice much last season, but still manage to sneak over the 1,000-yard mark in the final game of the season. Mary Kay Cabot, cleveland, "Browns’ Odell Beckham Jr. catching one-handed passes from Cam Newton and selling ‘I Still Can’t Breathe’ t-shirts," 15 June 2020 No boss looking over your shoulder, plenty of time to sneak in endless Facebook posts, TV watching, music listening, snacking and other things that potentially take away from the job. Jefferson Graham, USA TODAY, "How to stay focused while working from home," 11 June 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Annual passholders will get a sneak peek of the two parks starting Thursday, and normal visitors can tour the site beginning this Saturday. Spencer Neale, Washington Examiner, "Disney World reopening amid coronavirus case surge in Florida," 9 July 2020 Rival Samsung is doing just that as well on August 5, with a virtual sneak peek at its latest phone, the Galaxy Note update. Jefferson Graham, USA TODAY, "Are we missing anything from a virtual Apple iPhone announcement event?," 12 Sep. 2018 But for a few days this week, while tuning up incognito inside a local batting cage, Cabrera offered a sneak peek that 2020 may truly be the comeback season the Tigers have been waiting for. Anthony Fenech, Detroit Free Press, "Detroit Tigers' Miguel Cabrera offers sneak peek at comeback season. Here's what we saw," 3 July 2020 Roller coaster fans can get a sneak peak of Orion with a view from the first car, starting with a stomach-churning 300-foot drop, then up and down seven more hills along 5,321 feet of track with speeds up to 91 mph. Jeff Suess, The Enquirer, "Watch: POV video of Kings Island’s new Orion giga coaster," 26 June 2020 On Thursday, the company showed off a sneak peak at its upcoming lineup of titles for its next-generation PlayStation 5 (PS5) console, along with a look at the console itself and some accessories. Patrick Lucas Austin, Time, "Sony Finally Reveals the PlayStation 5 Along With Upcoming Games," 12 June 2020 IndyStar correspondent Stefan Krajisnik, IndyStar IU Insider Zach Osterman and other media members were given a sneak peek and invited to play IU's new Pfau Golf Course, which will open to the public on Monday. Stefan Krajisnik, The Indianapolis Star, "IU's Pfau Course 'has opportunity to be one of best college golf courses in the country.'," 12 June 2020 While cruising has been largely put on hold this year as COVID-19 has spread throughout the world, one German river cruise company has started to sail again, giving a potential sneak peek into what cruising may look like going forward. Alison Fox, Travel + Leisure, "A German River Cruise Hit the Water Again — and May Provide a Sneak Peek Into Sailing in the Future," 8 June 2020 According to the sneak peek, Chrishell's breakup will be a major plot point of the third season. Ineye Komonibo,, "All Of Our Burning Questions About Season 3 Of Netflix’s Selling Sunset," 25 May 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, "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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Time Traveler for sneak

Time Traveler

The first known use of sneak was in 1594

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Statistics for sneak

Last Updated

3 Aug 2020

Cite this Entry

“Sneak.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 3 Aug. 2020.

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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

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