under wraps, Informal. secret: The army wants this research project kept under wraps.
    wrapped up in,
    1. intensely absorbed in: wrapped up in one's work.
    2. involved in; bound up with: Peace is wrapped up in willingness to compromise.

Origin of wrap

1275–1325; Middle English (v.), of obscure origin; compare dialectal Danish vravle to wind
Related formsin·ter·wrap, verb (used without object), in·ter·wrapped, in·ter·wrap·ping.pre·wrap, verb (used with object), pre·wrapped, pre·wrap·ping.pre·wrap, nounre·wrap, verb, re·wrapped, re·wrap·ping.un·der·wrap, nounun·der·wrap, verb (used with object), un·der·wrapped, un·der·wrap·ping.
Can be confusedrap wraprapped rapt wrapped wrapt Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for under wraps

classified, covert, hush-hush, restricted

British Dictionary definitions for under wraps


verb wraps, wrapping or wrapped (mainly tr)

to fold or wind (paper, cloth, etc) around (a person or thing) so as to cover
(often foll by up) to fold paper, etc, around to fasten securely
to surround or conceal by surrounding
to enclose, immerse, or absorbwrapped in sorrow
to fold, wind, or roll up
(intr; often foll by about, around, etc) to be or become wound or extended
to complete the filming of (a motion picture or television programme)
Also called: rap (often foll by up) Australian informal to praise (someone)


a garment worn wrapped around the body, esp the shoulders, such as a shawl or cloak
a type of sandwich consisting of a tortilla wrapped round a filling
mainly US wrapping or a wrapper
British slang a small package of an illegal drug in powder forma wrap of heroin
Also called: rap Australian informal a commendation
  1. the end of a working day during the filming of a motion picture or television programme
  2. the completion of filming of a motion picture or television programme
keep under wraps to keep secret
take the wraps off to reveal

Word Origin for wrap

C14: origin unknown
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 under wraps



early 14c., wrappen, of uncertain etymology, perhaps via Scandinavian (cf. Danish dialectal vravle "to wind"), ultimately from PIE *werp- "to turn, wind" (cf. Greek rhaptein "to sew"), from root *wer- (3) "to turn, bend" (see versus). Related: Wrapped; wrapping.



late 15c., "fine cloth used as a cover or wrapping for bread," from wrap (v.). As a type of women's garment, recorded from 1827. Meaning "end of a filming session" is attested from 1974. Figurative phrase under wraps "in concealment" is recorded from 1939.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with under wraps

under wraps

Concealed or secret, as in The design for the new plant is under wraps. This idiom frequently is put as keep under wraps, meaning “keep secret,” as in Let's keep this theory under wraps until we've tested it sufficiently. It alludes to covering something completely by wrapping it up. [1930s]


In addition to the idiom beginning with wrap

  • wrap up

also see:

  • twist (wrap) around one's finger
  • under wraps
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.