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 Garbin, Harris, and Franks make plans to meet with an undercover law enforcement agent on this day in Ypsilanti to make a payment on explosives and exchange tactical gear. Freep.com, "'Snatch and grab': The winding path to plot against a governor," 11 Oct. 2020 The officer was killed last week during an undercover drug investigation with Scott Dingess, an informant. John Caniglia, cleveland, "U.S. Attorney General Barr calls slain Cleveland officer James Skernivitz an ‘American hero’ for his sacrifice, service," 11 Sep. 2020 Tehran: The first three episodes of the eight-episode espionage thriller, focused on an undercover Mossad agent, arrive on Apple TV+ Sept. 25. Radhika Marya, Fortune, "What to watch this weekend on Amazon Prime, Netflix, and more," 25 Sep. 2020 Greenaway was arrested by Indiana State Police on March 20, 2019, during an undercover operation and was rushed to the hospital. John Tuohy, The Indianapolis Star, "Ex-HamCo magistrate accused of resisting arrest accepts plea deal, sentenced to probation," 25 Sep. 2020 As part of the undercover operation, Howard detectives placed fake ads on websites known to advertise prostitution. Erin Hardy, baltimoresun.com, "Howard County police charge 8 with solicitation of prostitution at Jessup hotel," 23 Sep. 2020 An undercover agent, posing as a delivery driver, took it to the home and placed it on the front porch, according to the affidavit. John Caniglia, cleveland, "Federal agents seize one of the state’s largest hauls of methamphetamine near Cleveland home," 16 Sep. 2020 Veritas' founder, James O’Keefe, in 2010 pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor for unlawfully entering federal property as part of an undercover operation at the office of then-U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu, a Democrat from Louisiana. Patrick Marley, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Wisconsin liberal groups tell attorney general they believe they were targeted by undercover group Project Veritas," 16 Sep. 2020 Officers found a condom and the cellphone Lasane used to communicate with the undercover agent. Lina Ruiz, orlandosentinel.com, "Orlando sex offender found guilty of coercing sex with undercover agent posing as teen," 11 Sep. 2020 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, "China ups its spy game on US soil as it bids to control coronavirus narrative," 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, "As the coronavirus interrupts daily life, a Louisville family grapples with a new reality," 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, "Army major in Georgia jailed on federal child porn charge," 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, "Animal activism is a boys’ club. Silicon Valley could change that," 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, "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

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

16 Oct 2020

Cite this Entry

“Undercover.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/undercover. Accessed 20 Oct. 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

More from Merriam-Webster on undercover

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for 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).


Test Your Vocabulary

Farm Idioms Quiz

  • cow coming home
  • What does 'poke' refer to in the expression 'pig in a poke'?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Syn City

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!