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

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 This surreptitious shift in management comes at the same time that the BLM has begun plans to move its offices and staff from Washington D.C. to Grand Junction, Colorado. Wes Siler, Outside Online, "The Turmoil at the BLM Is Threatening Public Lands," 30 July 2019 With surreptitious data collection concerns at the forefront of many peoples' minds, Siciliano says people should take the time to do their research before downloading a free app, and that includes finding out where the developer is located. Alyssa Newcomb, Fortune, "FaceApp’s Russia Link Is the Latest Alarm in an Ongoing Digital Red Scare," 23 July 2019 The outtake-style clip features Tom Hanks’ Woody interrupting a surreptitious meeting between the collectible Prospector toy, Stinky Pete, and twin Barbie dolls inside a toy box. Nardine Saad,, "‘Toy Story 2’ casting-couch outtake is not so funny. So Disney deleted it," 3 July 2019 Clues are introduced with stinging details, such as the citrus trace of the former mother's perfume, lingering after a surreptitious visit. John Domini, Dallas News, "An Italian teenager meets the family she didn't know existed in 'A Girl Returned'," 1 July 2019 Perhaps a surreptitious Santa left you a surprise gift, embedded in a light fixture or electrical socket. Popular Mechanics Editors, Popular Mechanics, "How to Tell If Someone Is Bugging or Tracking You," 7 July 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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Statistics for surreptitious

Last Updated

11 Sep 2019

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Time Traveler for surreptitious

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

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English Language Learners Definition of surreptitious

: done in a secret way

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Comments on surreptitious

What made you want to look up surreptitious? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to make a temporary encampment

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