- An example of a secret is a hidden door leading to an unknown room.
- An example of a secret is a surprise birthday party.
- kept from public knowledge or from the knowledge of a certain person or persons
- withdrawn, remote, or secluded: a secret hideaway
- keeping one's affairs to oneself; secretive
- beyond general knowledge or understanding; mysterious or esoteric
- concealed from sight or notice; hidden: a secret drawer
- acting in secret: a secret society
Origin of secretOld French from Classical Latin secretus, past participle of secernere, to set apart from se-, apart (see secede) + cernere, to sift, distinguish: see harvest
- something known only to a certain person or persons and purposely kept from the knowledge of others
- something not revealed, understood, or explained; mystery: the secret of Stonehenge
- the true cause or explanation, regarded as not obvious: the secret of one's success
- [S-] a prayer said just before the Preface of the Mass
- a. Kept hidden from knowledge or view; concealed: a secret identity; a secret passageway.b. Not expressed; inward: secret desires.
- a. Given to keeping one's thoughts and activities unknown to others; secretive: “Scrooge … was secret, and self-contained, and solitary as an oyster” ( Charles Dickens )b. Not revealing a secret or not given to revealing secrets: “She boasted … that he did tell her. But he didn't. He was secret as the grave” ( Ruth Prawer Jhabvala )
- a. Operating in a hidden or confidential manner: a secret commission; a secret agent.b. Containing information, the unauthorized disclosure of which poses a grave threat to national security.
- Not much visited; secluded: a secret hiding place.
- a. Known or shared only by the initiated: secret rites.b. Beyond ordinary understanding; mysterious: “like Pan, calling out with his flute to come join in on the secret chaos of the world” ( Rick Bass )
- Something that is kept out of the knowledge or sight of others or is known only to oneself or a few: wanted to have no secrets between them.
- Something that remains beyond understanding or explanation; a mystery: unlocking the secrets of the atom.
- A method or formula for doing or making something well, especially when not widely known: The secret of this dish is in the sauce.
- Secret A variable prayer said after the Offertory and before the Preface in the Mass.
Origin of secretMiddle English from Old French from Latin sēcrētus from past participle of sēcernere to set aside sē- apart ; see s(w)e- in Indo-European roots. cernere to separate ; see krei- in Indo-European roots.
(countable and uncountable, plural secrets)
(comparative more secret, superlative most secret)
- Being or kept hidden. [from late 14th c.]
- We went down a secret passage.
- To make or keep secret. [from late 16th c.]
Middle English secrette, from Old French secret, from Latin sÄ“crÄ“tus (“separated, hidden"), from ptp of sÄ“cernÅ (“separate, to set aside, sunder out"), from Latin cernÅ , from Proto-Indo-European *krey- . Or from Latin sÄ“cÅ«rus (“untroubled, carefree"), from cura. Compare Russian cÐºÑ€Ñ‹Ñ‚Ñ‹Ð¹, ÑÐ¾ÐºÑ€Ñ‹Ñ‚Ñ‹Ð¹ ('hidden', 'covered', from Russian ÑÐ¾ÐºÑ€Ñ‹Ñ‚ÑŒ ('to hide', 'to conceal'), which in turn derives from Russian ÐºÑ€Ñ‹Ñ‚ÑŒ ('to cover')).
Displaced native Middle English diÈel "secret" (from Old English dÄ«egol "secret"), Middle English derne, deorne "dark, hidden, secret" (from Old English dierne "dark, hidden, secret"), Middle English roune, rowne "secret, secret counsel" (from Old English rÅ«n), Middle English hidel "secrecy, secret" (from Old English hÈ³dels "hiding-stow").