Meaning of secretive in English:


Pronunciation /ˈsiːkrɪtɪv/

See synonyms for secretive

Translate secretive into Spanish


  • 1(of a person or an organization) inclined to conceal feelings and intentions or not to disclose information.

    ‘she was very secretive about her past’
    • ‘Now that's led to people saying we're secretive and that we're close mouthed.’
    • ‘She is secretive about her past and we do not pressure her to reveal it.’
    • ‘He'd become somewhat of a secretive guy during the past few months.’
    • ‘They are secretive and withhold information not only from the rest of the world, but even from their own organizations.’
    • ‘Shepardson said that she thinks that people believe the World Bank is a secretive organization.’
    • ‘I'm simply not a particularly secretive person.’
    • ‘She peeked out her door, unsure of why she was being so secretive.’
    • ‘And he proceeds to explain why everything surrounding Virgin's finances should be so secretive.’
    • ‘Just why is the state health department being so secretive about their program?’
    • ‘Retailers are notoriously secretive about profit margins and the performance of their individual stores.’
    • ‘Williamson was notoriously secretive about his creation and no contemporary plan of the whole network survives.’
    • ‘He became highly secretive and delved further and further into the criminal world.’
    • ‘There is no public scrutiny of what is a very secretive and authoritarian regime.’
    • ‘But for this most secretive and networked of groups things have seldom been better.’
    • ‘The more secretive you get with your parents, the worst things will become.’
    • ‘Given the secretive nature of the order, what exactly was found remains a mystery.’
    • ‘The founder of Opus Dei, a secretive Catholic sect said to have infiltrated the Vatican, was canonised.’
    • ‘He was a bit secretive about his feelings, so they didn't hear from him much.’
    • ‘All contact is 100 percent confidential but it's not a secretive organisation.’
    • ‘The Merchant Company is known for being a secretive organisation.’
    uncommunicative, secret, unforthcoming, reticent, taciturn, silent, non-communicative, quiet, tight-lipped, close-mouthed, close, playing one's cards close to one's chest, clamlike, reserved, introvert, introverted, self-contained, discreet
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    1. 1.1(of a state or activity) characterized by the concealment of intentions and information.
      ‘secretive deals’
      • ‘The story was originally dealt with in a secretive way that led to speculation that the injury could be very serious.’
      • ‘Staff at Camp Bondsteel rarely venture outside the compound and their activities are secretive.’
      • ‘Her work is similarly secretive and intensely private.’
      • ‘That mission was so secretive, the Chinese government wouldn't even confirm the astronaut's name until he was safely on his way into orbit.’
      • ‘A highly secretive project has been underway since February 2000 to redefine the very concept of the action film.’
      • ‘It was the culmination of months of secretive work by a Garda team headed by Assistant Commissioner Joe Egan.’
      • ‘The way of rewarding his select group of fund managers in a secretive way has the hallmarks of a Macquarie Bank approach.’
      • ‘The selection of replacement bishops is a highly secretive process.’
      • ‘It was a really secretive process and I wasn't even sure who I was applying to until they asked me to come in for an interview!’
      • ‘What truly caught his attention was not her astonishingly contrasting beauty, but her secretive ways.’
      • ‘But I was thinking of what William Raleigh had said of my performing strange and secretive tasks for him, should he require them.’
      • ‘But her secretive way of voicing herself backfires when Georgia and Virginia are fired for her subversiveness.’
      • ‘The final reason for the ineffectiveness of the wonder weapons comes from their secretive development and combat employment.’
      • ‘Christian's works are secretive yet allusive, related yet solitary and, above all, tactile and handmade.’
      • ‘The decision-making process was usually secretive, and judges were never held accountable for their judgments.’
      • ‘Well we both know that it's not there for that, but I can't beat them up, so I get back at them a different and more secretive way.’
      • ‘The Manhattan Project was and is still one of the most secretive projects ever created in United States history.’
      • ‘The secretive process will probably continue for another week or so when one or two candidates will likely emerge.’
      • ‘Strikers said that they have never heard of such a fund before, and accused the company of cutting their pay in a secretive way.’
    2. 1.2(of a person's expression or manner) having an enigmatic or conspiratorial quality.
      ‘a secretive smile’
      • ‘The best of these shows a beautiful woman with a mysterious, secretive expression.’
      • ‘her big brother smirked, leaning forward in a secretive manner.’
      • ‘She nodded and a mysterious, secretive expression came into her eyes, but disappeared as soon as it appeared.’
      • ‘He flashed her a secretive smile before covering it up with a more somber expression.’
      • ‘James would only wink at him, a secretive smile gracing his handsome features…’
      • ‘Blaise smiled her secretive smile, the corners of her mouth twitching in hidden mirth, and she switched her grip on the hilt of her sword.’
      • ‘She smiled her most secretive and engaging smile and said nothing.’
      • ‘Bailey smiled this secretive grin and then nodded.’
      • ‘Ryo smiled, a secretive look on his face, and hugged her.’
      • ‘Alyssa shared a secretive smile with her two best friends.’
      • ‘He gave her one of his secretive little smiles and chuckled.’
      • ‘She gave him a quick secretive smile before she left his room.’
      • ‘The woman smiles a secretive grin and walks away.’
      • ‘He stood there with a rather secretive smile playing on his lips.’
      • ‘Suddenly, you got a bit more secretive.’
      • ‘Anne is suddenly too busy to be around her, and highly secretive.’
      • ‘The girls came along with me, looking pleased with themselves, very secretive.’
      • ‘With that she disappeared into the bathroom with a secretive smile upon her lips.’
      • ‘Hmmm… is that a secretive smile you are giving me?’
      • ‘Perhaps in his secretive way he was telling Ben his vacation was due.’


Mid 19th century back-formation from secretiveness, suggested by French secrétivité, from secret ‘secret’.