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

An undercover investigator, posing as an experienced bomb-maker, met with him extensively to discuss desired body counts. Kristine Phillips, USA TODAY, "After massacres and thwarted plots, federal authorities confront limits in fighting domestic terror," 10 Sep. 2019 What the drug suppliers didn’t know is that federal agents made several undercover purchases of drugs from the organization’s dark-web marketplace, as well as intercepting 32 parcels sent by the drug ring that contained heroin, meth or cocaine. James Martinez, azcentral, "Criminal ring used 'dark web' marketplaces to sell drugs, turn bitcoins into cash," 9 Sep. 2019 For its latest report, CLW said undercover investigators worked in Foxconn’s Zhengzhou plant in China, including one who was employed there for four years. Mark Gurman, Fortune, "Apple Admits Breaking Chinese Labor Laws in the World’s Largest iPhone Factory," 9 Sep. 2019 The Arizona resident reported losing the money, an undercover investigator with the district attorney’s office said in a court filing. James Queally, Los Angeles Times, "Conservative provocateur Jacob Wohl charged with financial crime in Riverside County," 4 Sep. 2019 His killing launched police and federal agents on a yearlong investigation — wiretaps, undercover drug buys — that brought down an East Baltimore street gang led by the Bloods. Luke Broadwater, baltimoresun.com, "3 Baltimore men are convicted on gang charges related to murder of popular bartender in Canton," 31 Aug. 2019 Those in attendance at the event can expect a large police presence of both uniformed and undercover officers,’’ police said in a post on bpdnews.com. John R. Ellement, BostonGlobe.com, "Boston police want to keep things ‘safe and peaceful’ during controversial Straight Pride Parade," 30 Aug. 2019 Checkbook’s undercover shoppers checked prices at local retailers and online outlets for 17 appliance models. SFChronicle.com, "Getting the best deals on appliances," 30 Aug. 2019 Though the storylines are far-fetched—an undercover waiter! several mysterious deaths! various natural and man-made disasters!—the excellent and thoroughly watchable cast convince you to become emotionally invested in just about every one. Marie Claire, "Will 'Grand Hotel' Be Renewed or Canceled?," 27 Aug. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

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 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

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

15 Sep 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

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).


concealment of treason or felony

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