Meaning of covert


Covert means secret or hidden. Soldiers might take part in a covert mission to infiltrate an enemy camp — and you might take part in a covert mission to steal your brother’s leftover Halloween candy.

Covert is the opposite of overt, which means obvious, or in full view. Covert things are hidden, private, or stealthy. It comes from the Old French covert, or “covered.” A covert bag of chips you’ve snuck into the movie theater might literally be covered, hidden under your coat, while a covert plan to throw your dad a surprise party is just a secret.

Definitions of covert
  1. adjective

    secret or hidden; not openly practiced or engaged in or shown or avowed

    covert actions by the CIA”
    covert funding for the rebels”

    implicit, inexplicit

    implied though not directly expressed; inherent in the nature of something
    backstair, backstairs, furtive

    secret and sly or sordid

    (of intelligence operations) deliberately misleading
    clandestine, cloak-and-dagger, hole-and-corner, hugger-mugger, hush-hush, secret, surreptitious, undercover, underground

    conducted with or marked by hidden aims or methods

    indulging only covertly
    collusive, conniving

    acting together in secret toward a fraudulent or illegal end
    cloaked, disguised, masked

    having its true character concealed with the intent of misleading

    communicated covertly
    behind-the-scenes, sub-rosa, under-the-table

    designed and carried out secretly or confidentially
    subterranean, subterraneous, ulterior

    lying beyond what is openly revealed or avowed (especially being kept in the background or deliberately concealed)
    under wraps

    kept secret
    undisclosed, unrevealed

    not made known

    hidden on any grounds for any motive
    invisible, unseeable

    impossible or nearly impossible to see; imperceptible by the eye
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    open, overt

    open and observable; not secret or hidden
    explicit, expressed

    precisely and clearly expressed or readily observable; leaving nothing to implication
    bald, barefaced

    with no effort to conceal
    naked, raw

    devoid of elaboration or diminution or concealment; bare and pure

    plain to see

    obvious to the eye

    not private; open to or concerning the people as a whole

    not concealed or hidden
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  2. noun

    a covering that serves to conceal or shelter something

    “the brush provided a
    covert for game”

    concealment, cover, screen

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    a hiding place sometimes used by hunters (especially duck hunters)

    device or stratagem for concealment or deceit

    a translucent screen made of a wooden frame covered with rice paper

    screen consisting of a figure of a horse behind which a hunter hides while stalking game
    type of:


    an artifact that covers something else (usually to protect or shelter or conceal it)

  3. adjective

    (of a wife) being under the protection of her husband

    “a woman


    kept safe or defended from danger or injury or loss
  4. noun

    a flock of coots

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    type of:


    a group of birds

Word Family

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