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

Keep scrolling for more

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
See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective The main target was Wilkerson, who pleaded guilty to accepting bribes worth more than $23,000 from undercover agents and Boston businessman Ronald Wilburn, who was working with the FBI. BostonGlobe.com, "Former city councilor, activist Chuck Turner dies - The Boston Globe," 27 Dec. 2019 At the first meeting, Gary brought the undercover agent $500, the sheriff’s department said. Leada Gore | Lgore@al.com, al, "Undercover operation nabs Alabama woman suspected of bringing phones, drugs to jail," 5 Dec. 2019 The Times first reported Wednesday that the report is expected to say that the DOJ watchdog found no evidence that the FBI tried to place informants or undercover agents inside Trump’s campaign. NBC News, "DOJ inspector general draft report says FBI didn't spy on Trump campaign," 29 Nov. 2019 The developers were actually undercover agents for the FBI. Susannah Bryan, sun-sentinel.com, "Closing arguments start in corruption trial of ex-mayor Joy Cooper," 26 Nov. 2019 But, between December 2017 and May 2018, Ahmed prescribed oxycodone and medical marijuana to to an informant and to an undercover agent, The Courant previously reported. Emily Brindley, courant.com, "East Hartford doctor pleads guilty to writing bogus narcotic prescriptions," 8 Nov. 2019 Federal laws do not explicitly prohibit the President—or members of the public—from outing a whistle-blower, unless the person is an undercover agent. Adam Gopnik, The New Yorker, "Why Is Trump Obsessed with Outing the Whistle-Blower?," 7 Nov. 2019 The co-conspirators turned out to be undercover agents. CBS News, "Alleged white supremacist arrested in thwarted synagogue attack in Colorado, FBI says," 4 Nov. 2019 Officer Nolan navigates building tension in his relationship with Jessica and a developing rapport with Grace while working a high-stakes criminal case involving an undercover homeland security agent. Lauren Huff, EW.com, "Watch the stars of Cheers, Castle, and more reunite in teasers for ABC's 'Cast from the Past Week'," 4 Oct. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun 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, "Civilians spend ’60 Days In’ Etowah County’s ‘broken’ jail for A&E show," 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, "Mekia Cox talks joining The Rookie, why her new character is a 'wild card'," 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, "Human trafficking charge against Alabama basketball star Jim Farmer dismissed," 20 Nov. 2019 Thus the use of undercovers, to go in ahead and identify the staff. Michael Wilson, New York Times, "The Night the Stonewall Inn Became a Proud Shrine," 27 June 2019 State police are in charge of security at the Kentucky State Fair, while some Louisville Metro officers, in uniform and undercover, assist as well. Lucas Aulbach, The Courier-Journal, "Police considering charges against teen who may have shot a gun at the Kentucky State Fair," 19 Aug. 2019 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

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.

See More

First Known Use of undercover


1920, in the meaning defined above


1962, in the meaning defined above

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about undercover

Time Traveler for undercover

Time Traveler

The first known use of undercover was in 1920

See more words from the same year

Statistics for undercover

Last Updated

6 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Undercover.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/undercover%20agent. Accessed 17 January 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for undercover


How to pronounce undercover (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of undercover

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

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on undercover

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for undercover

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with undercover

Spanish Central: Translation of undercover

Nglish: Translation of undercover for Spanish Speakers

Comments on undercover

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


a plan in which a last survivor takes all

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

The Eponym Quiz

  • rubens painting
  • Which is the best synonym of bowdlerize?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Dictionary Devil

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!