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

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
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective In a buy-and-bust, an undercover officer pretends to be a dope-sick buyer. Sergio De La Pava, Harper's Magazine, "On Defense," 15 Sep. 2020 Skernivitz and a police informant working with the undercover officer were both killed about 10 p.m. Thursday in Cleveland’s Stockyards neighborhood. Adam Ferrise, cleveland, "Two arrested, one sought in fatal shooting of undercover Cleveland police officer, informant, sources say," 4 Sep. 2020 Prosecutors said that on March 10, Recendez sold a 9mm handgun and ammunition to an undercover police officer for $250. Megan Jones, chicagotribune.com, "Aurora man facing felony drug, gun charges," 27 Aug. 2020 Checkbook’s undercover shoppers found that different companies may propose drastically different — and in some cases costly and unnecessary — solutions. Kevin Brasler, Star Tribune, "Wet basement? Try to solve it before you spring for more costly options," 5 Sep. 2020 At the end of July, the men gave the undercover agent weapons intended for Hamas to use to attack American soldiers overseas, according to the Justice Department. Katie Benner, New York Times, "Justice Dept. Charges 2 With Trying to Support Hamas," 4 Sep. 2020 Checkbook’s undercover shoppers collected prices for 18 models of eyeglasses (with single-correction lenses) and found that some Bay Area outlets charge twice as much as others. Consumers’ Checkbook, SFChronicle.com, "Tips for buying eyeglasses and contacts," 4 Sep. 2020 On the video, the undercover deputy is seen taking his clothes and shoes off and emptying his pockets before swimming toward the man. Miriam Marini, Detroit Free Press, "Bodycam footage shows undercover Macomb deputy saving drowning suspect after moped chase," 4 Sep. 2020 Cleveland 19 News said Skernivitz was working on an undercover drug deal and he and his informant were ambushed while sitting in the car. Sarah Brookbank, The Enquirer, "Cleveland Police officer fatally shot overnight, 3 arrested," 4 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.

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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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Time Traveler for undercover

Time Traveler

The first known use of undercover was in 1920

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Statistics for undercover

Last Updated

22 Sep 2020

Cite this Entry

“Undercover.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/undercover. Accessed 1 Oct. 2020.

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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

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