Nanako
"covertly" vs "secretly" Hi there, Could someone please tell me if there is a difference between "covertly" and "secretly"? For example, do the following sentences mean the same? Or is there a subtle difference? 1:They managed to call police covertly on another phone. 2:They managed to call police secretly on another phone. Any help would be really appreciated. Thanks, Nanako
Oct 23, 2018 9:28 AM
Answers · 2
Hi Nanako, Both words have the meaning of hiding something, but each is preferred in a different context. "Covertly" refers to something not openly practised; done in a manner that is hidden, concealed or disguised. It can be used to describe someone doing something without others knowing. In addition, it is also used to refer to some government or military operation that is shrouded from public view. "Secretly", on the other hand, refers to something done by only one or a few people and everyone in the group knows that they should not reveal this information to others. Examples: The troops carried out military operations covertly in the wee hours of the morning. / The burglar watched the owners covertly from the closet. The pair were secretly dating behind their parents' backs.
October 23, 2018
For the most part, these two words have the same meaning. You will often see 'covertly' used in a more official context than 'secretly'. For example, a teenager will 'secretly' type a message into their phone, while a secret agent will 'covertly' type a code into a computer.
October 23, 2018
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Nanako
Language Skills
Chinese (Mandarin), English, Japanese, Korean
Learning Language
Chinese (Mandarin), English