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[klan-des-tin] /klænˈdɛs tɪn/
characterized by, done in, or executed with secrecy or concealment, especially for purposes of subversion or deception; private or surreptitious:
Their clandestine meetings went undiscovered for two years.
Origin of clandestine
1560-70; < Latin clandestīnus, equivalent to *clande, *clamde, variant of clam secretly (with -de adv. particle) + -stīnus, probably after intestīnus internal; see intestine
Related forms
clandestinely, adverb
clandestineness, clandestinity, noun
unclandestinely, adverb
hidden, underhand, confidential, illicit. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for clandestinely
Historical Examples
  • He had made a miserable, hopeless girl follow him clandestinely to London.

    Chance Joseph Conrad
  • He then reminded her she had sent him clandestinely into Raby Hall to see her picture.

  • She desired not to leave him clandestinely again, or to forsake Florence.

    Romola George Eliot
  • I asked Mr. Cridge why they had brought the man to him, and clandestinely, too?

  • Making off suddenly or clandestinely, or "departed this life."

    The Sailor's Word-Book William Henry Smyth
  • When I would give it to another, you grasp it clandestinely.

    Rookwood William Harrison Ainsworth
  • She was fool enough (and the man too) to marry, but clandestinely.

    The Greville Memoirs Charles C. F. Greville
  • This was the reason why she had met Wyverne clandestinely in the Botanical Gardens.

    Barren Honour: A Novel George A. Lawrence
  • Yet why she should meet him clandestinely was an utter mystery.

    The Count's Chauffeur William Le Queux
  • More than once I have seen you leave this house, and return to it, clandestinely.

    Dangerous Ground Lawrence L. Lynch
British Dictionary definitions for clandestinely


secret and concealed, often for illicit reasons; furtive
Derived Forms
clandestinely, adverb
clandestineness, noun
Word Origin
C16: from Latin clandestīnus, from clam secretly; related to Latin celāre to hide
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for clandestinely



1560s, from Latin clandestinus "secret, hidden," from clam "secretly," from adverbial derivative of base of celare "to hide" (see cell), perhaps on model of intestinus "internal." Related: Clandestinely. As a noun form, there is awkward clandestinity (clandestineness apparently being a dictionary word).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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