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 Kemp needled Cagle over the surreptitious recording that surfaced last month. Chris Stirewalt, Fox News, "Trump scores on his own goal," 16 July 2018 You might be intrigued by someone's approach, which has a subtle, surreptitious quality. BostonGlobe.com, "Horoscope," 27 Jan. 2020 The surreptitious action is done, in part, to spare the wealthy Persian Gulf kingdom embarrassment, the bureau said. oregonlive, "FBI: Saudi government ‘almost certainly’ helps its citizens escape prosecution in US for serious crimes," 17 Jan. 2020 After eliminating several other relatives, investigators focused on Clanton, formerly known as Curtis Allen White, and went to Florida to monitor him and obtain a surreptitious DNA sample in late November. Washington Post, "Florida truck driver arrested in 1980 Colorado killing," 16 Dec. 2019 Aggressive efforts to root out bad actors have nabbed some surreptitious disinformation campaigns but have not stopped them. Jessica Guynn, USA TODAY, "Trump Facebook feuds: Americans brace for partisan warfare with friends, family in 2020," 14 Dec. 2019 He was featured by The New York Times in a 2008 article that focused on his creation of WikiScanner—software that helped uncover people and organizations making surreptitious changes to Wikipedia. Timothy B. Lee, Ars Technica, "Developer faces prison time for giving blockchain talk in North Korea," 2 Dec. 2019 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

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

26 Mar 2020

Cite this Entry

“Surreptitious.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/surreptitious. Accessed 31 Mar. 2020.

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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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