Adjective > Clandestine

Adjective – Clandestine

This comes from a Latin word for “hide.”

Something clandestine is sneaky, secret, or hidden, usually because it involves illegal or immoral activity.

clan DESS tin

Part of speech:
Adjective: “a clandestine maneuver,” “their approach stayed clandestine.”

Other forms:
The adverb is “clandestinely,” pronounced “clan DESS tin lee.”
For the noun, you can pick between “clandestineness” (clan DESS tin ness) and my preference, “clandestinity” (CLAN dess TIN ih tee).

How to use it:
Pick this common yet dramatic word when you need to emphasize how people are keeping their goals or activities secret–usually to protect themselves from criticism or consequences.

Talk about people’s clandestine aims, intentions, methods, approaches, and manners. Or, about clandestine communication or correspondence, or clandestine relationships.

Or, about clandestine groups of people and their clandestine meetings, activities, missions, and operations.

Feelings, too, can be called clandestine: “his clandestine hostility,” “her clandestine support for this campaign.”

“The Boricua Popular/People’s Army – or Ejército Popular Boricua in Spanish – is a clandestine organization based on the island of Puerto Rico, with cells in the United States. They campaign for, and support, the independence of Puerto Rico from the United States.”
— “Los Macheteros,” World Heritage Encyclopedia

“This second act is a wondrous musical scene. It is in the moonlit gardens of the Cornish castle where Tristan and Isolde meet clandestinely, while Bragaende, the faithful attendant, keeps watch in the tower above.”
— Mabel Wagnalls, Stars of the Opera, 1909