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Supposedly vs. Supposably


[see-kri-tiv, si-kree-] /ˈsi krɪ tɪv, sɪˈkri-/
having or showing a disposition to secrecy; reticent:
He seems secretive about his new job.
Origin of secretive1
late Middle English
1425-75; late Middle English; back formation from secretiveness (itself modeled on French secrétivité). See secret, -ive
Related forms
secretively, adverb
secretiveness, noun
secret, close.


[si-kree-tiv] /sɪˈkri tɪv/
Origin Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for secretive
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Sanda's mehari was led in front of the eastern door, which was pulled ajar in a secretive way.

    A Soldier of the Legion C. N. Williamson
  • It was, he supposed, a woman's way to be secretive in such matters, and he must not blame her.

    Scaramouche Rafael Sabatini
  • At the time of my visit to the Park in early June, kites were relatively silent and secretive in their behavior.

  • The soul of hospitality leaped from his face, stern and secretive though it was.

    St. Cuthbert's Robert E. Knowles
  • They frequently lay careful plans, are secretive, and only try to commit the act when they feel sure it will succeed.

    How to Care for the Insane William D. Granger
British Dictionary definitions for secretive


/ˈsiːkrɪtɪv; sɪˈkriːtɪv/
inclined to secrecy; reticent
another word for secretory
Derived Forms
secretively, adverb
secretiveness, noun
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 secretive

"inclined to secrecy," 1815 (implied in secretiveness); see secret (n.) + -ive. The word also was in Middle English with a sense "secret, hidden" (mid-15c.). Related: Secretively.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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