un·​der·​cov·​er | \ ˌən-dər-ˈkə-vər How to pronounce undercover (audio) \

Definition of undercover

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: acting or executed in secret specifically : employed or engaged in spying or secret investigation an undercover agent



Definition of undercover (Entry 2 of 2)

: a person engaged in undercover activity : spy

Other Words from undercover


undercover adverb

Examples of undercover in a Sentence

Adjective an undercover operation to infiltrate the terrorist organization for months she's been an undercover agent pretending to be a drug dealer Noun within the city was a well-organized fifth column, and these undercovers would make themselves known as soon as the invading forces breached the city limits
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Maani was actually cooperating with the FBI and the entire exchange was caught on an undercover camera. Mike Nolan, chicagotribune.com, 24 Nov. 2021 Checkbook’s undercover shoppers obtained quotes from a sample of area refinishers for sanding and refinishing two rooms totaling 560 square feet. Washington Post, 23 Nov. 2021 During the meeting, Wein offered to pay the undercover trooper $5,000 to murder her ex, who lives in another state, and gave him money up-front for travel expenses. Harriet Sokmensuer, PEOPLE.com, 22 Nov. 2021 More recently, Project Veritas and the Times butted heads over a story the Times ran last week on its undercover tactics. Matt Ford, The New Republic, 20 Nov. 2021 In 2019, Newsday published the findings of a three-year undercover investigation that exposed discriminatory home-selling practices by real estate agents that helped keep neighborhoods in Long Island, New York, segregated. Jessica Guynn, USA TODAY, 20 Nov. 2021 Who were the nine undercover FBI informants who were in the ballroom who were never called to testify? Christi Carras, Los Angeles Times, 18 Nov. 2021 Project Veritas is a right-wing media organization known for going undercover inside progressive institutions and using its findings to embarrass them. The Editorial Board, WSJ, 18 Nov. 2021 Maani was actually cooperating with the FBI and the entire exchange was caught on an undercover camera. Jason Meisner, chicagotribune.com, 17 Nov. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun In 2016, Kun Shan Chun, an FBI employee, pleaded guilty to operating undercover for China over the course of several years, accepting cash, using prostitutes, and living in exuberant accommodations overseas. Fox News, 22 Apr. 2020 But unlike seismic shifts of the past — ingrained into the American consciousness through a single catastrophic event — the novel coronavirus crept in undercover, one mind-boggling announcement at a time. Mandy Mclaren, The Courier-Journal, 20 Mar. 2020 This story has been corrected to show that the affidavit by FBI agent Tripp Godbee describes the actions of another agent working undercover to monitor online groups and were not the actions of Godbee. Washington Post, 9 Dec. 2019 Erica Meier, for one, leads a watchdog group called Animal Outlook, which gets the undercover, boots-on-the-ground activists into dairy farms, slaughterhouses, egg barns, and feedlots to collect images and video footage of how animals are treated. Chase Purdy, Quartz, 13 Feb. 2020 The show supplied a group of volunteers willing to go in undercover, and Horton was able to play a role in the selection of the final seven. Carol Robinson | Crobinson@al.com, al, 19 Nov. 2019 On Sunday, the actress officially joins the cast of the ABC drama as Nyla Harper, a former undercover detective turned John Nolan’s (Nathan Fillion) new training officer. Maureen Lee Lenker, EW.com, 16 Oct. 2019 Farmer, who lives in Franklin, was nabbed as part of a two-day undercover human trafficking operation in Rutherford County. Carol Robinson | Crobinson@al.com, al, 20 Nov. 2019 Thus the use of undercovers, to go in ahead and identify the staff. Michael Wilson, New York Times, 27 June 2019

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


1920, in the meaning defined above


1962, in the meaning defined above

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Time Traveler for undercover

Time Traveler

The first known use of undercover was in 1920

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Dictionary Entries Near undercover



undercover man

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Statistics for undercover

Last Updated

4 Dec 2021

Cite this Entry

“Undercover.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/undercover. Accessed 8 Dec. 2021.

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More Definitions for undercover



English Language Learners Definition of undercover

: done or working in a secret way in order to catch criminals or collect information

More from Merriam-Webster on undercover

Nglish: Translation of undercover for Spanish Speakers


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