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[sneek] /snik/
verb (used without object), sneaked or snuck, sneaking.
to go in a stealthy or furtive manner; slink; skulk.
to act in a furtive or underhand way.
British Informal. to tattle; inform.
verb (used with object), sneaked or snuck, sneaking.
to move, put, pass, etc., in a stealthy or furtive manner:
He sneaked the gun into his pocket.
to do, take, or enjoy hurriedly or surreptitiously:
to sneak a cigarette.
a sneaking, underhand, or contemptible person.
Informal. a stealthy or furtive departure.
British Informal. tattletale; informer.
sneaker (def 1).
Informal. a sneak preview.
Cards. the lead of a singleton in a suit other than the trump suit, as in whist.
Origin of sneak
1590-1600; variant of Middle English sniken, Old English snīcan to creep; cognate with Old Norse snīkja to hanker after
1. steal. See lurk.
Usage note
First recorded in writing toward the end of the 19th century in the United States, snuck has become in recent decades a standard variant past tense and past participle of the verb sneak: Bored by the lecture, he snuck out the side door. Snuck occurs frequently in fiction and in journalistic writing as well as on radio and television: In the darkness the sloop had snuck around the headland, out of firing range. It is not so common in highly formal or belletristic writing, where sneaked is more likely to occur. Snuck is the only spoken past tense and past participle for many younger and middle-aged persons of all educational levels in the U. S. and Canada. Snuck has occasionally been considered nonstandard, but it is so widely used by professional writers and educated speakers that it can no longer be so regarded. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for sneaked
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Must have been a coyote in here that sneaked off with your trousers, unless you have 'em on.

    Way of the Lawless Max Brand
  • After they had sneaked off Wahb came down and returned to the Piney.

    The Biography of a Grizzly Ernest Seton-Thompson
  • He sneaked in just before I closed the office last night, and asked for a telegram.

    Good Indian B. M. Bower
  • There wasn't any, and he sneaked out again and went to bed—so Pete told me this morning.

    Good Indian B. M. Bower
  • I'll bet 'twas Kenelm; he'd sneaked over to get the umbrella.

    Thankful's Inheritance Joseph C. Lincoln
British Dictionary definitions for sneaked


(intransitive; often foll by along, off, in, etc) to move furtively
(intransitive) to behave in a cowardly or underhand manner
(transitive) to bring, take, or put stealthily
(intransitive) (informal, mainly Brit) to tell tales (esp in schools)
(transitive) (informal) to steal
(intransitive; foll by off, out, away, etc) (informal) to leave unobtrusively
a person who acts in an underhand or cowardly manner, esp as an informer
  1. a stealthy act or movement
  2. (as modifier): a sneak attack
(Brit, informal) an unobtrusive departure
Derived Forms
sneaky, adjective
sneakily, adverb
sneakiness, noun
Word Origin
Old English snīcan to creep; from Old Norse snīkja to hanker after
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 sneaked



1550s (implied in sneakish), perhaps from some dialectal survival of Middle English sniken "to creep, crawl" (c.1200), related to Old English snican "to sneak along, creep, crawl," from Proto-Germanic *sneikanan, which is related to the root of snake (n.). Of feelings, suspicions, etc., from 1748. Transitive sense, "to partake of surreptitiously" is from 1883. Related: Sneaking. Sneak-thief first recorded 1859; sneak-preview is from 1938.



"a sneaking person; mean, contemptible fellow," 1640s, from sneak (v.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for sneaked



(also sneak preview): After a sneak in Chicago they decided to shelve it


To show a movie unexpectedly to an audience in order to assess its appeal: We sneaked it in several cities (1960s+ Movie studio)

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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