se·​cre·​tive | \ ˈsē-krə-tiv How to pronounce secretive (audio) , si-ˈkrē- \

Definition of secretive

: disposed to secrecy : not open or outgoing in speech, activity, or purposes

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Other Words from secretive

secretively adverb
secretiveness noun

Choose the Right Synonym for secretive

silent, taciturn, reticent, reserved, secretive mean showing restraint in speaking. silent implies a habit of saying no more than is needed. the strong, silent type taciturn implies a temperamental disinclination to speech and usually connotes unsociability. taciturn villagers reticent implies a reluctance to speak out or at length, especially about one's own affairs. was reticent about his plans reserved implies reticence and suggests the restraining influence of caution or formality in checking easy informal conversational exchange. greetings were brief, formal, and reserved 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

Examples of secretive in a Sentence

He's very secretive about his work. the intelligence agency remained secretive despite the media's demands for more openness in government
Recent Examples on the Web The five committees are notoriously secretive, fiercely shielding their choices from the outside world -- including the laureates themselves, who are told of their victories just minutes before they are announced to the public. Rob Picheta, CNN, 9 Oct. 2021 The process of choosing each year’s fellows is highly secretive, with experts from a cross-section of professions asked to nominate colleagues who are doing cutting-edge work. Washington Post, 28 Sep. 2021 He was involved in launching the Tesla Model 3 as well as Apple's secretive automotive project. Sebastian Blanco, Car and Driver, 9 Sep. 2021 Hamas’s normally secretive military head, Mohammed Deif, abetted by a spokesman for the Qassam Brigades, which Deif commands, had issued a warning. Bernard Avishai, The New Yorker, 13 May 2021 Because private-equity firms are secretive and their ownership stakes often hard to track, Woodall, the author of the report, said the analysis probably missed a lot of taxpayer funding that went to such companies. NBC News, 15 Sep. 2021 But there is a part of the affair that is still quite secretive: money spent by corporate PACs to exert influence on elections and political movements. Nicole Goodkind, Fortune, 12 May 2021 The testimony from So Han Spivey, documented by reporters from Law360 and CNN who are inside the courtroom, represents the most detail shared with the public to date about the finances of the famously secretive company. Jemima Mcevoy, Forbes, 14 Sep. 2021 As a member of the secretive Senate Intelligence Committee, Sen. Angus King has reason to worry about hackers. Alan Sunderman, The Christian Science Monitor, 30 July 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'secretive.' 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 secretive

1835, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for secretive

back-formation from secretiveness, partial translation of French secrétivité

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Time Traveler for secretive

Time Traveler

The first known use of secretive was in 1835

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Dictionary Entries Near secretive

secret is safe with (someone)


secret lover

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Last Updated

12 Oct 2021

Cite this Entry

“Secretive.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 15 Oct. 2021.

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More Definitions for secretive



English Language Learners Definition of secretive

: not letting people see or know what you are doing or thinking : tending to act in secret


se·​cre·​tive | \ ˈsē-krə-tiv How to pronounce secretive (audio) , si-ˈkrē- \

Kids Definition of secretive

: tending to act in secret or keep secrets

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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