surreptitious

adjective
sur·​rep·​ti·​tious | \ ˌsər-əp-ˈti-shəs How to pronounce surreptitious (audio) , ˌsə-rəp-, sə-ˌrep- \

Definition of surreptitious

1 : done, made, or acquired by stealth : clandestine
2 : acting or doing something clandestinely : stealthy a surreptitious glance

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Other Words from surreptitious

surreptitiously adverb

Choose the Right Synonym for surreptitious

secret, covert, stealthy, furtive, clandestine, surreptitious, underhanded mean done without attracting observation. secret implies concealment on any grounds for any motive. met at a secret location covert stresses the fact of not being open or declared. covert intelligence operations stealthy suggests taking pains to avoid being seen or heard especially in some misdoing. the stealthy step of a burglar furtive implies a sly or cautious stealthiness. lovers exchanging furtive glances clandestine implies secrecy usually for an evil, illicit, or unauthorized purpose and often emphasizes the fear of being discovered. a clandestine meeting of conspirators surreptitious applies to action or behavior done secretly often with skillful avoidance of detection and in violation of custom, law, or authority. the surreptitious stockpiling of weapons underhanded stresses fraud or deception. an underhanded trick

Examples of surreptitious in a Sentence

The letter didn't offer up the jewels, only shadowy suggestions about their disappearance, claiming that [heiress, Carolyn] Skelly, in a surreptitious trading of parcels with "a man in an ankle-length tweed overcoat," had left a bag full of jewelry on the floor at J.F.K. — Mark Seal, Vanity Fair, December 2001 In the early evening as we gathered in the lobby beneath mounted elk heads and bear skins, the lights of the chandelier flickered mysteriously. But the teacher and I both spied the surreptitious action of the desk clerk, whose sheepish smile acknowledged that one brief hotel mystery had been solved. Other signs of pranking there included a "ghost" photo (displayed in a lobby album) that the clerk confided to me was staged, and some pennies, placed on the back of a men's room toilet, that from time to time would secretly become rearranged to form messages—like the word "why?" that I encountered. — Joe Nickell, Skeptical Inquirer, September/October 2000 The next week offered [FBI agent] Wiser the opportunity he had been waiting for. Ames was leaving the country, going to Ankara for a weeklong international conference on drugs. Wiser went to Bryant for permission to run a … surreptitious search of Ames' garbage. But the chief was dead set against it. — Tim Weiner et al., Rolling Stone, 29 June 1995 She had a surreptitious relationship with her employee. a private investigator adept at taking surreptitious pictures of adulterous couples
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Recent Examples on the Web One of Cohen’s lawyers later released a surreptitious recording Cohen made of a September 2016 conversation with Trump discussing the arrangement to pay McDougal. Peter Elkind, ProPublica, "Prosecutors Investigating the Trump Organization Zero In on Trump CFO Allen Weisselberg," 21 Nov. 2019 His face was also captured in an image on the surreptitious camera, authorities said. David K. Li, NBC News, "Texas school-lunch employee planted secret camera in boys' bathroom, police say," 21 Nov. 2019 The campaign to demolish and replace the Babri Masjid began 70 years ago with the surreptitious planting of a Hindu idol in 1949. The Economist, "The Supreme Court hands India’s biggest communal flashpoint to Hindus," 14 Nov. 2019 And activists and lobbyists will leverage the opportunity to push their own agendas in all manner of inventive and surreptitious ways. Pete Gelling, Quartz, "The UN General Assembly lurches into full swing," 24 Sep. 2019 Others remembered doing it on their knees beneath the table while casting surreptitious glances at servers. Hannah Natanson, Washington Post, "Should there be diaper-changing stations in men’s bathrooms? With proposed new law, D.C. wades into national debate.," 14 July 2019 Some of this transformation has been obvious, a result of concrete steps by the app, and some has been a gradual, somewhat surreptitious, process. Hanna Kozlowska, Quartz, "Why go to the mall when you can look at Instagram?," 25 Aug. 2019 The controversy shows how Russia’s surreptitious 2016 activities, rather than unite U.S. officials, have left Democrats and Republicans bitterly divided - and have triggered heated debate about Russian investments in American businesses. Anchorage Daily News, "McConnell-backed effort to lift Russian sanctions boosted a project in his home state," 14 Aug. 2019 Detectives found evidence to support charges of surreptitious viewing of two victims, the release stated. Mike Cruz, azcentral, "Man held in bathroom-camera case arrested again after suspicious phone found in restaurant restroom," 9 Aug. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'surreptitious.' 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 surreptitious

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for surreptitious

Middle English, from Latin surrepticius, from surreptus, past participle of surripere to snatch secretly, from sub- + rapere to seize — more at rapid

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Time Traveler for surreptitious

Time Traveler

The first known use of surreptitious was in the 15th century

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Last Updated

4 Dec 2019

Cite this Entry

“Surreptitious.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/surreptitious. Accessed 15 December 2019.

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More Definitions for surreptitious

surreptitious

adjective
How to pronounce surreptitious (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of surreptitious

: done in a secret way

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