- done, made, or conducted without the knowledge of others: secret negotiations.
- kept from the knowledge of any but the initiated or privileged: a secret password.
- faithful or cautious in keeping confidential matters confidential; close-mouthed; reticent.
- designed or working to escape notice, knowledge, or observation: a secret drawer; the secret police.
- secluded, sheltered, or withdrawn: a secret hiding place.
- beyond ordinary human understanding; esoteric.
- (of information, a document, etc.)
- bearing the classification secret.
- limited to persons authorized to use information documents, etc., so classified.
- something that is or is kept secret, hidden, or concealed.
- a mystery: the secrets of nature.
- a reason or explanation not immediately or generally apparent.
- a method, formula, plan, etc., known only to the initiated or the few: the secret of happiness; a trade secret.
- a classification assigned to information, a document, etc., considered less vital to security than top-secret but more vital than confidential, and limiting its use to persons who have been cleared, as by various government agencies, as trustworthy to handle such material.Compare classification(def 5).
- (initial capital letter) Liturgy. a variable prayer in the Roman and other Latin liturgies, said inaudibly by the celebrant after the offertory and immediately before the preface.
- in secret, unknown to others; in private; secretly: A resistance movement was already being organized in secret.
Origin of secret
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for secretly
Britain refuses to listen, but has shocked the art world by secretly loaning one of the antiquities to Russia.Britain Has Lost Its Marbles: Elgin Loan Will Appease Putin
December 5, 2014
But secretly rooting for the good Israelis and wishing them success is one thing.The Inside Story of U.S. Meddling in Israel’s Elections
Aaron David Miller
December 4, 2014
He proceeds to tease me, asking if our interview is “secretly a date?”My Bizarre Night With James Deen, Libertarian Porn Star
November 12, 2014
As other prisoners took advantage of the rehabilitation programs offered, Lane and Opperud secretly planned an escape.How To Plan A Jailbreak
September 13, 2014
Secretly, I was a little hopeful, believing there was a reason for this baby.I Was Pregnant When He Hit Me. Here's #WhyIStayed.
September 10, 2014
I secretly hoped for a silk, but Mother, to whom I suppose I am even now—now!The Bacillus of Beauty
The arrival of Winkleman would, he secretly admitted, upset him completely.The Leopard Woman
Stewart Edward White
Plainly, Evadna was secretly laughing at her perturbed interest in the matter.
Secretly he was hoping that Evadna heard the explanation, and he raised his voice purposely.
From which I infer that you secretly think her manner equal to her looks?'Little Dorrit
- kept hidden or separate from the knowledge of othersRelated adjective: cryptic
- known only to initiatesa secret password
- hidden from general view or usea secret garden
- able or tending to keep things private or to oneself
- operating without the knowledge of outsidersa secret society
- outside the normal range of knowledge
- something kept or to be kept hidden
- something unrevealed; mystery
- an underlying explanation, reason, etc, that is not apparentthe secret of success
- a method, plan, etc, known only to initiates
- liturgy a variable prayer, part of the Mass, said by the celebrant after the offertory and before the preface
- in the secret among the people who know a secret
Word Origin and History for secretly
late 14c., from Latin secretus "set apart, withdrawn; hidden, concealed, private," past participle of secernere "to set apart, part, divide; exclude," from se- "without, apart," properly "on one's own" (see se-) + cernere "separate" (see crisis).
As an adjective from late 14c., from French secret, adjective use of noun. Open secret is from 1828. Secret agent first recorded 1715; secret service is from 1737; secret weapon is from 1936.
"to keep secret" (described in OED as "obsolete"), 1590s, from secret (n.). Related: Secreted; secreting.