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[klan-des-tin] /klænˈdɛs tɪn/
characterized by, done in, or executed with secrecy or concealment, especially for purposes of subversion or deception; private or surreptitious:
Their clandestine meetings went undiscovered for two years.
Origin of clandestine
1560-70; < Latin clandestīnus, equivalent to *clande, *clamde, variant of clam secretly (with -de adv. particle) + -stīnus, probably after intestīnus internal; see intestine
Related forms
clandestinely, adverb
clandestineness, clandestinity, noun
unclandestinely, adverb
hidden, underhand, confidential, illicit. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for clandestinely
  • Both are backstairs literatures that often have to be semi-clandestinely distributed, then read with the shades drawn.
  • They cross-reference it with the local newspaper or a clandestinely intercepted phone conversation.
  • When nothing comes of either affair, she gives herself clandestinely to a chance-met train acquaintance.
  • Criminals are now using bulk pseudoephedrine and pseudoephedrine drug products to clandestinely manufacture methamphetamine.
  • Stimulants are diverted from legitimate channels and clandestinely manufactured exclusively for the illicit market.
  • Others have no legitimate medical uses and are produced clandestinely.
  • These actions were often performed outside of the military system both voluntarily and clandestinely.
  • Although the drug is made by pharmaceutical companies, it is also clandestinely manufactured.
  • By definition, intelligence is clandestinely acquired information-stolen, to put it bluntly.
British Dictionary definitions for clandestinely


secret and concealed, often for illicit reasons; furtive
Derived Forms
clandestinely, adverb
clandestineness, noun
Word Origin
C16: from Latin clandestīnus, from clam secretly; related to Latin celāre to hide
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for clandestinely



1560s, from Latin clandestinus "secret, hidden," from clam "secretly," from adverbial derivative of base of celare "to hide" (see cell), perhaps on model of intestinus "internal." Related: Clandestinely. As a noun form, there is awkward clandestinity (clandestineness apparently being a dictionary word).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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