Build your vocabulary with Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day! Each day a Merriam-Webster editor offers insight into a fascinating new word -- explaining its meaning, current use, and little-known details about its origin.
June 7th, 2015
Episode 219 of 898 episodes
Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for June 07, 2015 is: clandestine \klan-DES-tun\ adjective : marked by, held in, or conducted with secrecy : surreptitious Examples: The commander ordered the clandestine flights over enemy territory to gather more information about the opposing forces. "Frida Kahlo met Jose Bartoli in New York while she was recuperating from spinal surgery stemming from a bus accident in her youth. Their clandestine correspondence lasted for three years, aided by friends and Kahlo's sister, Cristina, who had introduced the pair." Gotham News, April 24, 2015 Did you know? In 1658, the English poet John Milton wrote of "clandestine Hostility cover'd over with the name of Peace." Over three and a half centuries later we use clandestine in much the same way. The word is often used as a synonym of secret and covert, and it is commonly applied to actions that involve secrecy maintained for an evil, illicit, or unauthorized purpose. It comes to us by way of Middle French from Latin clandestinus, which is itself from clam, meaning "secretly."