Date: 1500-1600
Origin: Perhaps from Old English snican 'to creep'


1 verb
sneak1 past tense and past participle sneaked or snuck American English

go secretly

[intransitive always + adverb/preposition] to go somewhere secretly and quietly in order to avoid being seen or heard [= creep]
sneak in/out/away etc
They sneaked off without paying!
She snuck out of the house once her parents were asleep.

take/give secretly

[transitive] to hide something and take it somewhere or give it to someone secretly:
I snuck her a note.
sneak something through/past etc somebody/something
Douglas had sneaked his camera into the show.

sneak a look/glance/peek

to look at something quickly and secretly, especially something that you are not supposed to see:
He sneaked a look at her.


[transitive] informal to quickly and secretly steal something unimportant or of little value
sneak something from somebody
We used to sneak cigarettes from Dad.

sneak on somebody

phrasal verb
to tell someone such as a parent or teacher about something that another person has done wrong, because you want to cause trouble for that person:
A little brat named Oliver sneaked on me.

sneak up

phrasal verb
to come near someone very quietly, so that they do not see you until you reach them
sneak up on/behind etc
I wish you wouldn't sneak up on me like that!

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