Merriam-Webster’s Word of the Day for April 25, 2021 is:

clandestine • klan-DESS-tun  • adjective

: marked by, held in, or conducted with secrecy : surreptitious


“Salons have been shut down under stay-at-home orders to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus. In Los Angeles, the result has been a robust clandestine haircut scene.” — Emily Guerin, NPR, 23 May 2020

“In 1993, [Tom Stoppard] met his aunt’s granddaughter, Sarka, with whom his mother had embarked on a semi-clandestine correspondence (after keeping her past quiet for more than half a century).” — Gaby Wood, The Atlantic, 7 Feb. 2021

Did you know?

In 1658, the English poet John Milton wrote of “clandestine Hostility cover’d over with the name of Peace.” Today, clandestine is used in much the same way. The word often substitutes for secret and covert, and it is commonly applied to actions that involve secrecy maintained for an evil, illicit, or unauthorized purpose. It comes to English by way of Middle French, from Latin clandestinus, which is itself from Latin clam, meaning “secretly.”

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