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

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Other Words from undercover


undercover adverb

Examples of undercover in a Sentence


an undercover operation to infiltrate the terrorist organization for months she's been an undercover agent pretending to be a drug dealer


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

Noon Monday-Thursday John Woo’s double-barrelled action classic is about a tough Hong Kong who cop teams with an undercover agent to shut down a sinister mobster and his crew. Houston Chronicle, "Outside the Megaplex: Here are the Houston arthouse movies showing July 5-11," 3 July 2019 The verdict came at the end of a two-week trial in which prosecutors played for jurors recordings of the men speaking with undercover FBI agents who were posing as potential investors. Jonathan M. Pitts, baltimoresun.com, "Maryland dentist one of two men convicted of conspiring to bribe senior officials in Haiti," 21 June 2019 In fact, Mo was first an FBI informant and then an undercover agent. Rachel Weiner, Washington Post, "Former Metro police officer caught in terrorism sting fails to win lighter sentence," 21 June 2019 Two friends from far north suburban Zion were convicted by a federal jury Thursday of attempting to aid the Islamic State terrorist group by providing cellphones to an undercover FBI agent to be used as detonators for bombs. Jason Meisner, chicagotribune.com, "Federal jury convicts two suburban friends of aiding ISIS," 20 June 2019 An affidavit filed by a Homeland Security Investigations agent in connection with a criminal complaint alleges that Hutchings sold psilocybin mushrooms and MDMA to an undercover agent three times in March and April. Jason Green, The Mercury News, "Former UCSC student indicted on possession of drugs for sale," 20 June 2019 According to court documents, an undercover agent posing as an ecstasy dealer met with Hamid or Saeid Salari three times and offered a total of $290,000 cash to buy cars without reporting the sale or registering the buyer's name. Robert Anglen, AZCentral.com, "Used-car nightmare: Arizona dealer didn't pay off trades or transfer title to buyers," 17 June 2019 Bryan Watson and David Hansberry worked as undercover narcotics agents for the Detroit Police Department. Tresa Baldas, Detroit Free Press, "Detroit police officers lose appeal: ‘They were dirty cops’," 13 June 2019 An undercover agent with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives began corresponding with Xu and eventually purchased four guns. Scott Glover, CNN, "US Customs supervisor had 'highly suspicious' contact with Chinese officials, prosecutors say," 13 June 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Proving their impressive undercover skills once again, the night out for the Duke and Duchess of Sussex somehow remained top secret for the duration of their time spent in London's West End. Lucy Wood, Marie Claire, "Meghan Markle and Prince Harry Took a Secret Date Night to the Theatre," 4 Mar. 2019 The weakest link As a 27-page affidavit written by FBI Special Agent David Knight explained, the case began when an Ohio law enforcement officer, Larry McCoy, began posing undercover in January 2018 on Craigslist. Cyrus Farivar, Ars Technica, "Cops told suspect he had to open iPhone X with his face, so he did," 2 Oct. 2018 But politics hasn’t been the typical career path for veterans of the spy services or former top national security staff members, especially those who spent most of their time working undercover or handling highly classified information. Byron Tau, WSJ, "The Candidates Who Came in From the Cold," 9 Aug. 2018 Police made seven undercover buys from Degan between December and early February and arrested him on Feb. 7, the document said. Travis Andersen, BostonGlobe.com, "Winthrop man pleads not guilty to drug charges; $1 million in cash seized," 23 May 2018 Haspel has spent most of her 33-year CIA career undercover, and her role in the George W. Bush administration interrogation and detention program has generated significant opposition to her selection. Jeremy Herb, CNN, "Warner asks Haspel to fix 'unacceptable' public disclosure of her record," 7 May 2018 Haspel, who has spent the majority of her CIA career undercover, is facing public scrutiny for the first time. Emily Cadei, sacbee, "Feinstein has had Gina Haspel over for dinner, but has 'deep concerns' about the CIA nominee | The Sacramento Bee," 8 May 2018 The intelligence community has largely rallied around the nomination of Haspel, who spent most of her career in the CIA undercover. Manu Raju And Jeremy Herb, CNN, "Trump's CIA pick faces growing Hill scrutiny over destruction of interrogation tapes," 17 Apr. 2018 Linna enlists a colleague, Saga Bauer, to enter the hospital undercover. Ken Tucker, New York Times, "‘The Silence of the Lambs’ Goes Nordic Noir," 13 Apr. 2018

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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Statistics for undercover

Last Updated

7 Jul 2019

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Time Traveler for undercover

The first known use of undercover was in 1920

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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

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More from Merriam-Webster on undercover

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with undercover

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for undercover

Spanish Central: Translation of undercover

Nglish: Translation of undercover for Spanish Speakers

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characterized by aphorism

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