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Synonym Chooser

How is the word covert distinct from other similar adjectives?

Some common synonyms of covert are clandestine, furtive, secret, stealthy, surreptitious, and underhanded. While all these words mean "done without attracting observation," covert stresses the fact of not being open or declared.

covert intelligence operations

When could clandestine be used to replace covert?

The meanings of clandestine and covert largely overlap; however, clandestine implies secrecy usually for an evil, illicit, or unauthorized purpose and often emphasizes the fear of being discovered.

a clandestine meeting of conspirators

Where would furtive be a reasonable alternative to covert?

The words furtive and covert can be used in similar contexts, but furtive implies a sly or cautious stealthiness.

lovers exchanging furtive glances

When is secret a more appropriate choice than covert?

While in some cases nearly identical to covert, secret implies concealment on any grounds for any motive.

met at a secret location

When is it sensible to use stealthy instead of covert?

The words stealthy and covert are synonyms, but do differ in nuance. Specifically, stealthy suggests taking pains to avoid being seen or heard especially in some misdoing.

the stealthy step of a burglar

In what contexts can surreptitious take the place of covert?

In some situations, the words surreptitious and covert are roughly equivalent. However, surreptitious applies to action or behavior done secretly often with skillful avoidance of detection and in violation of custom, law, or authority.

the surreptitious stockpiling of weapons

When might underhanded be a better fit than covert?

While the synonyms underhanded and covert are close in meaning, underhanded stresses fraud or deception.

an underhanded trick

Thesaurus Entries Near covert

Cite this Entry

“Covert.” Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 13 Apr. 2024.

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