(third-person singular simple present sneaks, present participle sneaking, simple past and past participle sneaked or snuck)
- (intransitive) To creep or go stealthily; to come or go while trying to avoid detection, as a person who does not wish to be seen.
- He decided to sneak into the kitchen for a second cookie while his mom was on the phone.
- To take something stealthily without permission.
- I went to sneak a chocolate but my dad caught me.
- (dated) To hide, especially in a mean or cowardly manner.
- (intransitive) (informal, especially with on) To inform an authority about another's misdemeanours; to tell tales; to grass.
- If you sneak on me I'll bash you!
1. To sneak something is not the same as to steal something. In this sense, sneak typically implies trying to avoid a supervisor's or guardian's mild displeasure or mild discipline (typically with food intended for several), while steal indicates a more serious action and often the person stealing does not know the owner of the item being stolen.2. The past and past participle snuck is primarily found in North American English, where it originated in the late 19th century as a dialectal form, and where it is still regarded as informal by some; its use appears to be increasing in frequency and acceptability. It is sometimes found in British and Australian/Hiberno-English too. (Compare The Cambridge Guide to English Usage, Merriam-Webster Collegiate Dictionary, Webster's New World College Dictionary).
From Middle English sniken (“to creep, crawl"), related to Old English snÄ«can (“to desire, reach for sneakily"), from Proto-Germanic *snÄ«kanÄ…, which is related to the root of snake.