From Longman Dictionary of Contemporary Englishsecretse‧cret1 /ˈsiːkrɪt/ ●●●S3W2 adjective1SECRETknown about by only a few people and kept hidden from others → secrecyThey kept their relationship secret from their parents.agents on a secret missionsecret talks with the terroristssecret compartment/passage etcThe drugs were found in a secret compartment in Campbell’s suitcase.secret ingredient/recipe/formulaThe cookies are made to a secret recipe.2[only before noun]SECRETsecretfeelings, worries, or actions are ones that you do not want other people to know aboutHis secret fear was that Jenny would leave him.Did you know you had a secret admirer (=someone who is secretly in love with you)?► see thesaurus at private3 →secret weapon4SECRETused to describe the behaviour of someone who is keeping their thoughts, intentions, or actions hidden from other people syn secretivesecret aboutThey’re being very secret about it.There was a secret smile on her face.THESAURUSsecret known about by only a few people, who have agreed not to tell anyone elsea secret meeting placeThe details of the proposal must remain secret.confidential used about information, especially in business or government, that is secret and not intended to be shown or told to other peoplea highly confidential reportEmployees’ personal details are treated as strictly confidential.classified used about information that the government has ordered to be kept secret from most peopleHe was accused of passing on classified information to the Russians in the 1950s.sensitive used about information that is kept secret because there would be problems if the wrong people knew itA teenager managed to hack into sensitive US Air Force files.covert [only before noun] used about things that are done secretly, especially by a government or official organizationa CIA covert operationundercover [usually before noun] used about things that are done secretly by the police in order to catchcriminals or find out informationDetectives arrested the suspect after a five-day undercover operation.underground an underground organization or newspaper is one that operates or is produced secretly and opposes the governmentHer father was a member of the underground resistance movement in France during World War II.clandestine /klænˈdestɪn/ secret and often illegal or immoralclandestine meetings his involvement in a clandestine operation to sell arms to Irana clandestine love affairhush-hush informal used about information or activities that are kept officially secretHe was put in charge of some hush-hush military project.I’ve no idea what he does – it’s all very hush-hush.COLLOCATIONS CHECKconfidential information/document/report/letter/inquiryclassified information/document/materialsensitive information/filescovert operation/support/activities/war/aidundercover agent/operation/investigation/workunderground organization/newspaper/economyclandestine meeting/operation/organization/networkhush-hush research/project/experiment
Examples from the Corpus
secret• The experiments were top secret.• I hope you see how vital it is that our conversation remains secret.• They say that the better the secretagent, the less one hears about him.• The film tells the story of a Swisssecret agent who masquerades as a grocer in order to uncover a drugsring.• The secret, almost inaccessiblehaven where the black-robed savantshoarded the wisdom that sustained the people of Arcadia.• I had a secretambition to return to politics.• The Leader of the House will be selected by secretballot.• The president's schedule is secret, but there is speculation that he will visit UN troops in the area.• Judges in their secretchambers ask other questions.• The letter was written in a secretcode.• Psychologists say that dreams can reveal our secretdesires.• Secretdocumentscontainingdetails of Britain's defence plans have been stolen.• He hid the fact that he was a secretdrinker from his employees for many years.• The rock is also riddled with tunnels, some of which come out at secretentrances in the forest below.• Her secretfear was that Jim would find out where she was living.• In February 1990 more secretfiles were found at both the Defence and Justice Ministries.• Williams' diaries reveal all his secret hopes and fears.• secret information• But Sloan would not say who had ordered him to make the secretpayments.• She was kept under surveillance by the secret police for over three years.• He had avoideddetection during the war, when for wholly different reasons he was murdered by the Saigon secret police.• I actually think he's pr9bably a secretRepublicanvoter.• a seniormember of the secret service• He made a secrettrip to the White House in order to secure an agreement.kept ... secret from• The mysterykept secret from all eternity is now about to be made clear.• The relationship was not kept secret from her supervisors.• I had kept it a secret fromkids.• Richie was in the know but the plan was kept a secret fromMidge and Stevie.• The reforms were reportedly prepared by a group of specialists and astonishingly kept secret from the prime minister's cabinet.• Its exactcontent, however, will also be kept secret from you.secret admirer• Since Lisa has no family and virtually no friends, she becomes obsessed with tracking down her secret admirer.• Item - Lady Eleanor was preparing to leave the priory and go to her secret admirer, but who was he?• Who was her secret admirer or friend?secret smile• Then Miss Foley, the Director's secretary, calm and self-possessed, wearing always that secret smile.• He smiles a few secret smiles and shakes his head when Anne and Millie look at him.• Was there a secret smilehovering about his mouth?• He had been watching Cardiff, and now that infuriatingsecret smileregistered again.• His secret smile that just exposed his teeth.secretsecret2 ●●●S3W3 noun [countable]1SECRETsomething that is kept hidden or that is known about by only a few people → secrecyI can’t tell you. It’s a secret.It was no secret that the two men hated each other.Don’t worry. Your secret is safe with me (=I won’t tell anyone about it).2 →in secret3 →the secret4 →make no secret of something5 →the secrets of life/nature/the universe etcCOLLOCATIONSverbshave a secretWe have no secrets from each other.know a secret (=about someone else)You can tell Tom that I know his secret.keep a secret (=not tell it to anyone)Can you keep a secret? tell somebody a secretShall I tell you a secret?let somebody in on a secret (=tell them a secret)Frank let me in on the secret.reveal/divulge a secret formal (=tell it to someone)He was accused of revealing state secrets.give away a secret (=tell it to someone carelessly or by mistake)I had to be careful not to give away any secrets.share a secret (=tell it to someone because you trust them)I trusted Alexander, so I decided to share my secret with him.discover/find out a secretHe was afraid that someone would discover his secret.ADJECTIVES/NOUN + secreta big secret (=an important secret or one that very few people know)The event was supposed to be a big secret, but everyone knew about it.a little secret (=a personal secret that very few people know)You must promise me that this will be our little secret.a closely-guarded/well-kept secret (=a secret that few people are allowed to know)The recipe is a closely-guarded secret.an open secret (=something that a lot of people know, but do not talk about because it is supposed to be a secret)It was an open secret that he was having an affair.a dark/terrible secret (=a secret about something bad)I’m sure every family has a few dark secrets.a dirty secret (=a shameful secret)The exclusion of black people from the film industry is one of Hollywood’s dirty little secrets.a guilty secret (=a secret that someone feels guilty about)He had finally discovered Jo’s guilty secret.somebody’s innermost secrets (=very private or personal secrets)She wasn’t confident enough to share her innermost secrets with him.a family secretTheir normally strong relationship is threatened when he has to reveal a family secret.a state/official secret (=a government secret)He was accused of passing on state secrets to a foreign power.a trade secret (=a company or business secret)They must not betray their employer’s trust, for instance by giving away trade secrets.military secretsHe was sent to prison for five years in 1933 for selling military secrets to Germany.COMMON ERRORS ► Don’t say ‘say a secret’ or ‘say your secrets’. Say tell somebody a secret or tell somebody your secrets.
Examples from the Corpus
secret• We lived in a small village and I knew that the news wouldn't remain a secret for very long.• I can't tell you that - it's a secret.• I'm not supposed to be telling you this, it's a secret.• Come over here, Luke wants to tell you a secret.• Hollywood stars reveal their beautysecrets in next month's edition.• It's one of those family secrets that we don't talk about much.• His whereabouts are a closely-guarded secret.• I don't know what her secret is but she always gets top marks in exams.• We had chanced across one of the best-kept secrets of the Rockies, the danger from bears.• Her well-keptsecret finally was revealed Tuesday.• Gore has made little secret of his own ambitions.• Only Jasper knew my secret.• The men at his level were spawningsecrets that quivered like reptileeggs.• A scientist has been arrested for revealing state secrets concerning chemicalweapons.• Mr. Ritchie, you're a millionaire at the age of twenty. What's the secret of your success?• Jenny and Michael Aldous, who garden here, have obviously hit upon the secret of colour throughout the summer.• Yes, the secret's out I'm afraid. I'm to be a grandmother.• The task force will concentrate on stopping the theft of tradesecrets.• I know a little about your secret.• You cease to be yourself, you become your secret.It’s a secret• No, no, you don't have to tell me. It's a secret, I know.From Longman Business Dictionarysecretse‧cret /ˈsiːkrɪt/ adjective1something that is secret is only known about by a few people and kept hidden from other people, sometimes because it is illegalThe unexpected merger has triggered reports of a secret deal.The judge has twice insisted that there must be a secret ballot (=a vote in which every individual voter can keep his or her vote a secret).2trade/industrial/business etc secret information about a company or its products which is known only to a few people in the company, and which must not be given to anyone not working for itThe company has labelled the underlying sales data a trade secret.A law prohibits employees from divulging (=telling other people) corporate secrets.