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 formsclan·des·tine·ly, adverbclan·des·tine·ness, clan·des·tin·i·ty, nounun·clan·des·tine·ly, adverb

Synonyms for clandestine Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for clandestinely

Historical Examples of clandestinely

  • He had made a miserable, hopeless girl follow him clandestinely to London.


    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.


    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

British Dictionary definitions for clandestinely



secret and concealed, often for illicit reasons; furtive
Derived Formsclandestinely, adverbclandestineness, noun

Word Origin for clandestine

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

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