Definition of secret in English:


Syllabification: se·cret
Pronunciation: /ˈsēkrit


  • 1Not known or seen or not meant to be known or seen by others: how did you guess I had a secret plan? the resupply effort was probably kept secret from Congress
    More example sentences
    • His secret plans for a new and unconventional way of life have only just emerged from the letters he wrote to friends.
    • Even after the secret escape plan was revealed and all hell broke loose, the company held fast to its priorities.
    • This was a secret visit planned with military precision.
  • 1.1 [attributive] Not meant to be known as such by others: a secret drinker
    More example sentences
    • Mr Hague reveals his history as a secret drinker in an interview published today in a glossy men's magazine.
    • And once you start talking, they will repeat what you say, and soon you will have a reputation of a secret drinker.
    • I'm a secret real ale drinker from time to time - could I be an English Democrat?
  • 1.2Fond of or good at keeping things about oneself unknown: he can be the most secret man
  • 1.3(Of information or documents) given the security classification above confidential and below top secret.
    More example sentences
    • They were secret documents which indicated and gave information about our involvement in Korea and North Vietnam, in both those wars.
    • In addition, prisoners and secret documents were captured.
    • It is hardly surprising that once the existence of the order leaked out, suspicions arose that the documents contained secret information not revealed at the Inquiry.


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  • 1Something that is kept or meant to be kept unknown or unseen by others: a state secret at first I tried to keep it a secret from my wife
    More example sentences
    • But they're going to have to keep it a secret from everybody else…
    • Our families knew about it in advance and somehow managed to keep it a secret from me.
    • It also relates to hidden and unknown matters, secrets and private enemies.
    confidential matter, confidence, private affair; skeleton in the closet
  • 1.1Something that is not properly understood; a mystery: I’m not trying to explain the secrets of the universe in this book
    More example sentences
    • I can't explore the country's culture properly and learn its secrets.
    • Tour the grounds and uncover the mysteries and secrets of its plant life.
    • This house is history personified with all its grandeur, mysteries and unravelled secrets.
  • 1.2A valid but not commonly known or recognized method of achieving or maintaining something: the secret of a happy marriage is compromise
    More example sentences
    • The secret to achieving and maintaining healthy, young looking skin is balance in your life and skin care routine.
    • Their secret is the Taguchi Method, which is a technique for designing experiments that converge on an ideal product solution.
    • The secret, La Collins maintains, to her youthful flush is nothing other than petroleum jelly and water.
    recipe, (magic) formula, blueprint, key, answer, solution
  • 1.3Formerly, the name of a prayer said by the priest in a low voice after the offertory in a Roman Catholic Mass.


be in on the secret

Be among the few people who know something.
More example sentences
  • His wife, Lynne, and children Craig and Rachel were in on the secret and helped to plan and organise the tribute.
  • The gig had been arranged in total secrecy and only her husband was in on the secret.
  • ‘This idea of 420 being a ‘secret code’ is kind of funny, when you think that a third of the population is in on the secret.

in secret

Without others knowing.
More example sentences
  • Is it acceptable that MPs should have the privilege of voting in secret?
  • He took them quickly and in secret, hiding the camera under a long, shabby overcoat.
  • Old forms of government have every reason to operate in secret, while denying just that privilege to subjects.

make no secret of something

Make something perfectly clear.
More example sentences
  • He's quite proud of that stance and makes no secret of it.
  • It strikes me that if I'm looking to make a fortune overnight - and I make no secret of it, I am - then poker may be the answer.
  • In the case that's true, then you've got to remember that he despises the Bush administration and made no secret of it.


late Middle English: from Old French, from Latin secretus (adjective) 'separate, set apart', from the verb secernere, from se- 'apart' + cernere 'sift'.

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