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.

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

British Dictionary definitions for stealthful



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



(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 stealthful



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