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

Except this time, the customer was an undercover FBI agent. Wired, "What the Takedown of Two Streaming Services Means for Piracy," 29 Aug. 2019 The suspect, who has not yet been publicly identified, allegedly ordered a knife via the undercover agent. NBC News, "FBI arrests NYC man who texted undercover agent about ISIS-inspired terror plot," 29 Aug. 2019 Kamala Harris During her term as California’s attorney general, her office sentenced two men to 300 days in jail for selling 800 bootleg CDs to undercover agents. Steve Knopper, Billboard, "How Bernie, Biden, Kamala and Warren Stack Up on Industry Issues," 22 Aug. 2019 In a protest at the airport, demonstrators tied up and beat two men believed to be undercover mainland agents, an incident that has prompted soul-searching in the leaderless movement in recent days, and apologies from demonstrators. Tripti Lahiri, Quartz, "China’s disinformation on Hong Kong protests is on Twitter and Facebook," 20 Aug. 2019 Demonstrators have contended that at least some of the violence attributed to them may have been instigated by undercover police agents. Keith Bradsher, New York Times, "Beijing’s Hong Kong Strategy: More Arrests, No Concessions," 20 Aug. 2019 If the State Department put any of these groups on the list, the FBI could deploy undercover agents to engage with their members online, and would-be domestic terrorists in the United States would have to think twice about engaging with them. Mary B. Mccord, Twin Cities, "Mary B. McCord: White nationalist killers are terrorists. We should fight them like terrorists.," 13 Aug. 2019 Cross was an Army paratrooper at Fort Bragg in North Carolina in 2007 when he was accused of stealing body armor and drugs from the military and selling them to an undercover FBI agent, court records show. Brian Chasnoff, ExpressNews.com, "‘A Perfect Storm’ — online hate and political winds whip up white supremacy," 10 Aug. 2019 The names of the informants were stored in a database on a server at an undercover location that could only be accessed with a pass key and via an alarmed entry. Tonya Alanez, sun-sentinel.com, "Sunrise police sergeant under investigation for allegedly giving confidential info to Sun Sentinel," 17 Sep. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

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 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

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

13 Oct 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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