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Kept or done in secret, often to conceal an illicit or improper purpose. See Synonyms at secret.

[Latin clandestīnus, probably blend of *clam-de, secretly (from clam; see kel- in Indo-European roots) and intestīnus, internal; see intestine.]

clan·des′tine·ly adv.
clan·des′tine·ness, clan′des·tin′i·ty n.


secrecy; the quality of being clandestine
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The habit, practice, or policy of keeping secrets:
References in periodicals archive ?
Those willing to help have been condemned to a precarious clandestinity.
Robin Morgan offers a feminist analysis of terrorism seen through the lens of her own experience in radical social movements, political clandestinity and finally personal enlightenment.
If we are allowed to keep on participating in politics without weapons, we could come out of clandestinity and do politics in an open way, which would open a world of possibilities to us and to the country.
In America, if only during a very brief visit, I lived many hours in the sort of climate of clandestinity, revolutionary urgency, and hope that belonged to the Europe of 1944 and 1946.
With ups and downs and to different degrees, the Left resisted and survived in clandestinity and in exile; it valiantly overcame the dictatorship's efforts to erase it from the national political map.
In Chile, over the 17 years of the dictatorship, people passed from direct intimidation to suffering a psychological war, from persecution to death, from arrest, imprisonment, and torture to disintegration and demolition of the victim, from clandestinity to exile, from arrest to disappearance, and from doubts about the truth to a total impunity.
The dedication of individuals to providing treatment for abortion complications or safe abortions in a context of clandestinity, as important as it is, cannot make up for the absence of a legal framework and national programmes.
On the other occasions, the habits of clandestinity and mistrust, of tight discipline and centralized control, without which the freedom fighting nucleus would have been wiped out, continue with dire results into the new society.
Multiculturalism poses complex problems for law enforcement and security intelligence, particularly counter-terrorism, since many Middle East cultures from which contemporary terrorists originate have a conspiratorial cultural matrix which has promoted the use of deception and clandestinity by fanatical terrorist minorities for over a thousand years.