Synonym Chooser

How is the word stealthy distinct from other similar adjectives?

Some common synonyms of stealthy are clandestine, covert, furtive, secret, surreptitious, and underhanded. While all these words mean "done without attracting observation," stealthy suggests taking pains to avoid being seen or heard especially in some misdoing.

the stealthy step of a burglar

When is it sensible to use clandestine instead of stealthy?

The words clandestine and stealthy can be used in similar contexts, but clandestine implies secrecy usually for an evil, illicit, or unauthorized purpose and often emphasizes the fear of being discovered.

a clandestine meeting of conspirators

When might covert be a better fit than stealthy?

The meanings of covert and stealthy largely overlap; however, covert stresses the fact of not being open or declared.

covert intelligence operations

When could furtive be used to replace stealthy?

In some situations, the words furtive and stealthy are roughly equivalent. However, furtive implies a sly or cautious stealthiness.

lovers exchanging furtive glances

When can secret be used instead of stealthy?

Although the words secret and stealthy have much in common, secret implies concealment on any grounds for any motive.

met at a secret location

When is surreptitious a more appropriate choice than stealthy?

The synonyms surreptitious and stealthy are sometimes interchangeable, but 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 would underhanded be a good substitute for stealthy?

The words underhanded and stealthy are synonyms, but do differ in nuance. Specifically, underhanded stresses fraud or deception.

an underhanded trick

Thesaurus Entries Near stealthy

Cite this Entry

“Stealthy.” Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 1 Oct. 2023.

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