Synonyms & Antonyms of secretive

given to keeping one's activities hidden from public observation or knowledge
  • the intelligence agency remained secretive despite the media's demands for more openness in government

Synonyms for secretive

Words Related to secretive

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Antonyms for secretive

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Frequently Asked Questions About secretive

How is the word secretive distinct from other similar adjectives?

Some common synonyms of secretive are reserved, reticent, silent, and taciturn. While all these words mean "showing restraint in speaking," secretive, too, implies reticence but usually carries a suggestion of deviousness and lack of frankness or of an often ostentatious will to conceal.

the secretive research and development division

When is it sensible to use reserved instead of secretive?

While in some cases nearly identical to secretive, reserved implies reticence and suggests the restraining influence of caution or formality in checking easy informal conversational exchange.

greetings were brief, formal, and reserved

When can reticent be used instead of secretive?

The words reticent and secretive can be used in similar contexts, but reticent implies a reluctance to speak out or at length, especially about one's own affairs.

was reticent about his plans

When could silent be used to replace secretive?

The meanings of silent and secretive largely overlap; however, silent implies a habit of saying no more than is needed.

the strong, silent type

Where would taciturn be a reasonable alternative to secretive?

The synonyms taciturn and secretive are sometimes interchangeable, but taciturn implies a temperamental disinclination to speech and usually connotes unsociability.

taciturn villagers

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Time Traveler for secretive

Time Traveler

The first known use of secretive was in 1835

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Cite this Entry

“Secretive.” Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 Sep. 2022.

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More from Merriam-Webster on secretive

Nglish: Translation of secretive for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of secretive for Arabic Speakers


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