Definition of secretive in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈsēkridiv/


1(Of a person or an organization) inclined to conceal feelings and intentions or not to disclose information: she was very secretive about her past
More example sentences
  • Now that's led to people saying we're secretive and that we're close mouthed.
  • She is secretive about her past and we do not pressure her to reveal it.
  • He'd become somewhat of a secretive guy during the past few months.
uncommunicative, secret, unforthcoming, playing one's cards close to one's chest, reticent, reserved, silent, noncommunicative, quiet, tight-lipped, buttoned-up, close-mouthed, taciturn
1.1(Of a state or activity) characterized by the concealment of intentions and information: secretive deals
More example sentences
  • The story was originally dealt with in a secretive way that led to speculation that the injury could be very serious.
  • Staff at Camp Bondsteel rarely venture outside the compound and their activities are secretive.
  • Her work is similarly secretive and intensely private.
1.2(Of a person’s expression or manner) having an enigmatic or conspiratorial quality: a secretive smile
More example sentences
  • The best of these shows a beautiful woman with a mysterious, secretive expression.
  • her big brother smirked, leaning forward in a secretive manner.
  • She nodded and a mysterious, secretive expression came into her eyes, but disappeared as soon as it appeared.



Pronunciation: /ˈsēkridivlē/
Example sentences
  • Far from improving Yeltsin's image, however, the war - secretively conceived and poorly planned - tarnished it further.
  • But I wonder why he did it secretively, without mentioning it to me?
  • Leila smiled secretively to herself, licking her pink lips.


Pronunciation: /ˈsēkridivnəs/
Example sentences
  • Naturally talkative, Theroux discovered the candour as well as the secretiveness of the island's people.
  • Apart from anything else, this secretiveness adds up to the cardinal sin of security by obscurity.
  • So when it came to naming the shop, the pair decided to turn its secretiveness into an asset.


Mid 19th century: back-formation from secretiveness, suggested by French secrétivité, from secret 'secret'.

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: se·cre·tive

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