[ stelth ]
/ stɛlθ /


secret, clandestine, or surreptitious procedure.
a furtive departure or entrance.
  1. an act of stealing; theft.
  2. the thing stolen; booty.
(initial capital letter) Military. a U.S. Air Force project involving a range of technologies, with the purpose of developing aircraft that are difficult to detect by sight, sound, radar, and infrared energy.


surreptitious; secret; not openly acknowledged: a stealth hiring of the competitor's CEO; the stealth issue of the presidential race.

Nearby words

  1. steal the show,
  2. stealage,
  3. stealer,
  4. stealing,
  5. stealingly,
  6. stealth bomber,
  7. stealth tax,
  8. stealth technology,
  9. stealthy,
  10. steam

Origin of stealth

1200–50; Middle English stelthe; compare Old English stælthing theft. See steal, -th1

Related formsstealth·ful, adjectivestealth·ful·ly, adverbstealth·less, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for stealth

British Dictionary definitions for stealth


/ (stɛlθ) /


the act or characteristic of moving with extreme care and quietness, esp so as to avoid detectionthe stealth of a cat
cunning or underhand procedure or dealing
archaic the act of stealing
Derived Formsstealthful, adjective

Word Origin for stealth

C13 stelthe; see steal, -th 1


/ (stɛlθ) /


(modifier) informal denoting or referring to technology that aims to reduce the radar, thermal, and acoustic recognizability of aircraft and missiles
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 stealth



mid-13c., "theft, action or practice of stealing," from Old English *stælþ, which is related to stelen (see steal (v.)), from Proto-Germanic *stælitho (cf. Old Norse stulþr), with Proto-Germanic abstract noun suffix *-itho (see -th (2)). Sense of "secret action" developed c.1300, but the word also retained its etymological sense into 18c. Got a boost as an adjective from stealth fighter, stealth bomber, radar-evading U.S. military aircraft, activated 1983.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper