Definition of secret in English:


Line breaks: se¦cret
Pronunciation: /ˈsiːkrɪt



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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 cupboard
  • 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, formula, blueprint, magic formula, key, answer, solution
  • 1.3A 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 small number of people who know something: only Linda was let in on the secret
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: they made no secret of their hatred for him
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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