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 On December 16th of that year, in a front-page story in the Times, Kean, together with two Times journalists, revealed that the Pentagon had been running a surreptitious U.F.O. program for ten years. Gideon Lewis-kraus, The New Yorker, "How the Pentagon Started Taking U.F.O.s Seriously," 30 Apr. 2021 Street portraiture by nature is a kind of surreptitious craft, not always reliant on the consent of the photographed and occasionally even voyeuristic or invasive. Syreeta Mcfadden, The Atlantic, "Polaroid Portraits," 9 Apr. 2021 Although Pitino has often run afoul of N.C.A.A. rules over his long career, there is no indication that Iona, which is scheduled to play No. 2 Alabama on Saturday, held a surreptitious practice without the consent of tournament organizers. New York Times, "N.C.A.A. Quietly Eases a Virus Safety Rule for Tournament," 15 Mar. 2021 That early antibody testing clued researchers in to the phenomenon of asymptomatic infection and surreptitious spread. Los Angeles Times, "Column: Have half of L.A. County residents had COVID-19? It depends whose estimate you trust," 5 Mar. 2021 On April 17, 1997, she was indicted by a Clark County grand jury for the crimes of unauthorized surreptitious intrusion of privacy by listening device, murder with use of deadly weapon and accessory to murder. Keren Schiffman, ABC News, "What happened in Vegas? Woman alleges innocence in husband's death after 2 decades in prison," 20 Feb. 2021 Quanta Magazine spoke with Darden recently about her experience working for NASA, how to make fast planes quieter, and her surreptitious visits to speak with schoolchildren and Girl Scouts. Quanta Magazine, "The NASA Engineer Who’s a Mathematician at Heart," 19 Jan. 2021 Further clarity will not be available until 2027, when the surreptitious tapes of King’s activities are unsealed, and this documentary, however dramatic its mood, is, in a sense, a prequel. Anthony Lane, The New Yorker, "“MLK/FBI” Forbids Us to Relax," 15 Jan. 2021 In October, Harry and Meghan got another paparazzi agency to confess and apologize for taking surreptitious photos, allegedly by drones, of baby Archie in their Los Angeles backyard. Maria Puente, USA TODAY, "Prince Harry wins correction, apology from tabloid in latest legal victory over media," 29 Dec. 2020

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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Statistics for surreptitious

Last Updated

4 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Surreptitious.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/surreptitious. Accessed 9 May. 2021.

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More Definitions for surreptitious

surreptitious

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of surreptitious

: done in a secret way

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Comments on surreptitious

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