\ 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 In the pasta aisle, many supermarkets offer whole grain dried pastas, as well as pastas made from chickpeas and vegetables, which can be a great way to sneak in extra veggies. Justin Ward,, "Ask the CIA: Tips for trimming your grocery bill," 14 May 2020 The couple managed to sneak in a romantic kiss after Tretola dropped a COVID-19 patient off in the ER, where Dello Russo works. Christina Oehler,, "This Couple Was Supposed to Get Married—but Instead They're Working in an ER to Fight COVID-19," 13 May 2020 That performance, combined with production that includes 17 career sacks should be enough for Hamilton to sneak into the late rounds. Brett Vito, Denton Record-Chronicle, "NFL draft predictions -- This will be the year UNT breaks through," 20 Apr. 2020 But Houston's graffiti artists are still finding ways to sneak some positivity into the city with new murals and artworks inspired by the pandemic. Rebecca Hennes, Houston Chronicle, "New coronavirus-inspired art, murals dot Houston's landscape," 16 Apr. 2020 So at that time, a group of researchers at the University of Iowa genetically engineered a strain of mice to have the human version of the enzyme that coronaviruses use to sneak into cells, ACE2. Tim Mcdonnell, Quartz, "How monkeys, ferrets, and horses are helping scientists fight Covid-19," 13 Apr. 2020 The Pioneers did fumble the ball three times, but the two scores were just enough to sneak by the Generals. Amy Mackelden, Harper's BAZAAR, "Angelina Jolie's Grocery Shopping Style Is Ridiculously Chic," 15 Mar. 2020 There was no need to sneak out of the black race anymore, to be the type of black person whose distance from other blacks disguised self-hatred. Darryl Pinckney, The New York Review of Books, "Escaping Blackness," 10 Mar. 2020 After even just a few watches, one thing is for sure: ARMY theorists will certainly have a great time deciphering all the hidden references BTS managed to sneak in the video. Sara Delgado, Teen Vogue, "BTS "ON" Music Video: "Game of Thrones," "Lion King," "Maze Runner," and More," 27 Feb. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Neil Simon Theater noted that ticket holders ready for the July 2020 sneak peek will receive an automatic credit card refund. Taiia Smart Young, Essence, "Michael Jackson Musical 'MJ' Gets Pushed Back to 2021," 14 May 2020 Over the weekend, a sneak-peek of the reunion was released and the women followed with photos of their looks on Instagram. Nandi Howard, Essence, "'RHOA' Cast Members Dazzle In All White For The Season 12 Virtual Reunion," 4 May 2020 People on TikTok 'are getting a sneak peek' Peterson, who had been working as a fitness instructor at Soul Cycle in Los Angeles before the coronavirus shutdown, still aspires to work in entertainment news. Kimi Robinson, azcentral, "Remember the Phoenix teen who asked Miley Cyrus to prom? Here's what he's up to on TikTok," 1 May 2020 The special sneak-peek brought him to a pre-revolutionary construction in Pennsylvania where George Washington once stayed. Joseph Neese, House Beautiful, "Chip and Joanna Gaines Unveil Slate of 10 New Magnolia Network Shows During Primetime Special," 27 Apr. 2020 Thursday night’s first round of the NFL Draft gave us a sneak peek at war rooms around the league, but football fans couldn’t help but notice Mike Vrabel’s Titans setup. Mark Heim |, al, "NFL Draft: Mike Vrabel’s Titans war room goes viral, thanks to a mullet, Frozone, kid in ‘bathroom’," 24 Apr. 2020 Chip and Joanna Gaines are giving fans a big sneak peek of their forthcoming TV Network. Hannah Chubb,, "Chip and Joanna Gaines Announce 4-Hour Preview of TV Network as They Push Launch Amid Coronavirus," 21 Apr. 2020 Company members from San Pedro’s Little Fish Theatre perform plays exploring life and love, followed by a sneak peek at a new original work. 4 p.m. Sunday. Matt Cooper, Los Angeles Times, "Michael Urie at home, channeling Barbra Streisand: Your weekend quarantine must-watch," 18 Apr. 2020 The first trailer for the short-form series gives viewers a sneak peek at what's to come on the show and, as expected, Teigen's courtroom is nothing short of stylish (peep the statement necklaces adorning her judge's robe) and downright hilarious. Ineye Komonibo,, "The First Trailer For Chrissy’s Court Is Extremely Chaotic," 27 Mar. 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

21 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Sneak.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 May. 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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