[ klas-uh-fahyd ]
/ ˈklæs əˌfaɪd /
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See synonyms for: classified / classifieds on Thesaurus.com

arranged or distributed in classes or according to class: We plan to review all the classified specimens in the laboratory.
designating the part or parts of a publication that contain advertisements or lists arranged by category: The classified section of our little local newspaper is full of ads for garage sales and cleaning ladies.
(of information, a document, etc.)
  1. available only to authorized persons.Compare classification (def. 5).
  2. bearing the designation classified.
confidential or secret: The firm's promotional budget for next year is classified information.
identified as belonging to a specific group or category, as one to which benefits or restrictions apply: Classified buildings are eligible for state-funded restoration. The bank has a list of classified customers to whom it will not make large loans.
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Origin of classified

First recorded in 1885–90; 1940–45 for def. 3; classify + -ed2


non·clas·si·fied, adjectivesu·per·clas·si·fied, adjectivewell-clas·si·fied, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023


What does classified mean?

Classified means categorized or labeled in some way.

Classified has several different meanings that all have to do with things being sorted in a certain way. It is commonly used to mean secret or confidential, as in that information is classified.

Example: The agency keeps a list of people who have been classified as security risks.

Where does classified come from?

Classified has been in use in English since at least the 1800s. It is the past tense of the verb classify, which means “to arrange by class or assign an identification to.”

Classified can be used as a past tense verb (as in The species was classified as endangered) or as an adjective describing things that have been arranged in such a way (as in Please store the classified samples before the ones that have not been labeled).

Classified listings in newspapers and on websites contain items sorted into categories, such as jobs and items for sale. The items are called classified ads and the section is sometimes called the classifieds.

Many governments use a classification system to label sensitive information, such as that related to national security or other military matters, to determine who can and cannot have access to it. Such information is classified into specific categories, such as restricted, confidential, secret, and top-secret. (We can neither confirm nor deny the existence of a category called super double hush hush extra secret to the max.) For this reason, the word classified has been extended in popular use to mean “secret” or “confidential.” The first records of this sense of the word come from the 1940s (the ones we know about anyway).

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What are some other forms related to classified?

  • classify (verb)
  • classification (noun)
  • nonclassified (adjective)
  • superclassified (adjective)
  • well-classified (adjective)

What are some synonyms for classified?

What are some words that share a root or word element with classified


What are some words that often get used in discussing classified?


How is classified used in real life?

Classified means “categorized.” It is commonly used to mean “secret,” especially in the context of government information and documents.



Try using classified!

True or false? 

Classified always means “secret.”

How to use classified in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for classified

/ (ˈklæsɪˌfaɪd) /

arranged according to some system of classification
government (of information) not available to people outside a restricted group, esp for reasons of national security
(of information) closely concealed or secret
(of advertisements in newspapers, etc) arranged according to type
British (of newspapers) containing sports results, esp football results
(of British roads) having a number in the national road system. If the number is preceded by an M the road is a motorway, if by an A it is a first-class road, and if by a B it is a secondary road
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