Cloak-and-dagger Definition

Of or characteristic of the activities of spies and undercover agents, esp. as extravagantly depicted in popular suspense fiction.
Webster's New World
Marked by melodramatic intrigue and often by espionage.
American Heritage

Origin of Cloak-and-dagger

  • First attested 1840, from French de cape et d'épée, “the cloak and the sword", the French term referred to a genre of drama in which the main characters wore cloaks and had swords. Henry Wadsworth Longfellow used the “cloak and sword" term in 1840, whereas Charles Dickens preferred “cloak and dagger" a year later.

    From Wiktionary

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