- 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- secluded, sheltered, or withdrawn: a secret hiding place.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 for secret on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for secret
In secret, before the referendum, the council went ahead and fluoridated the water anyway.Anti-Fluoriders Are The OG Anti-Vaxxers
July 27, 2016
The death toll, which experts believe has been significantly undercut by secret burials, stands at 7,905.The Race for the Ebola Vaccine
January 7, 2015
Never mind the huge buildup of clandestine operatives and secret warriors since 9/11.ISIS Fight Has a Spy Shortage, Intel Chair Says
January 2, 2015
Afraid the Korean secret police would not believe his kidnapping story, Shin settled in Hollywood.Propaganda, Protest, and Poisonous Vipers: The Cinema War in Korea
December 30, 2014
Ziad and Sabrine dated in secret during their time at university.A Sunni-Shia Love Story Imperiled by al Qaeda
December 26, 2014
But I have a secret dread of the character and power of Alcibiades.Philothea
Lydia Maria Child
It is on Mr. Haley's account that I prefer to keep it secret.Brave and Bold
The secret of this crowning charm was, perhaps, that she was a new sensation.Malbone
Thomas Wentworth Higginson
She saw her all the time while Connie was telling her the secret.
She knew that in secret Mamma was glad; but she answered the reproof.
- 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 secret
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.
Idioms and Phrases with secret
see in secret; open secret.