Definition of


  1. (noun, communication) something that should remain hidden from others (especially information that is not to be passed on)
    he tried to keep his drinking a secret
  2. (noun, communication) information known only to a special group
  3. (noun, cognition) something that baffles understanding and cannot be explained
    it remains one of nature's secrets
  4. (adj, all) not open or public; kept private or not revealed
    secret ingredients
    secret talks
  5. (adj, all) conducted with or marked by hidden aims or methods
    cloak-and-dagger activities behind enemy lines
    hole-and-corner intrigue
    secret missions
    a secret agent
    secret sales of arms
    surreptitious mobilization of troops
    an undercover investigation
    underground resistance
  6. (adj, all) not openly made known
    a secret bride
  7. (adj, all) communicated covertly
    secret messages
  8. (adj, all) not expressed
  9. (adj, all) designed to elude detection
    a secret passage
    the secret compartment in the desk
  10. (adj, all) hidden from general view or use
    a secluded romantic spot
    a secret garden
  11. (adj, all) (of information) given in confidence or in secret
    their secret communications
  12. (adj, all) indulging only covertly
  13. (adj, all) having an import not apparent to the senses nor obvious to the intelligence; beyond ordinary understanding
    the mystical style of Blake
    occult lore
    the secret learning of the ancients
  14. (adj, all) the next to highest level of official classification for documents

via WordNet, Princeton University

Origin of the word Secret

  1. late 14c. (n.), c.1400 (adj.), from L. secretus "set apart, withdrawn, hidden," originally pp. of secernere "to set apart," from se- "without, apart," prop. ?on one's own? (from PIE *sed-, from base *s(w)e-; see idiom) + cernere "separate" (see crisis). The verb meaning "to keep secret" (described in OED as "obsolete") is attested from … more

via Online Etymology Dictionary, ©2001 Douglas Harper

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