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Using or involving secrecy, deception, or espionage, especially the kind portrayed in dramatic depictions of spying. During the Cold War, there were always rumors of the latest cloak-and-dagger tactics being used by spies. I know I said I wanted to meet you in private, but you didn't have to be so cloak-and-dagger about it. A parking garage isn't what I had in mind.

cloak (someone or something) in secrecy

To hide someone or something from another person or from public view. The residents complained that the board cloaked its decision process in secrecy, not allowing anyone to see the final plan.
See also: cloak, secrecy

cloak someone or something in secrecy

Fig. to hide or conceal someone or something in secrecy. Patrick cloaked his activities in secrecy. The agents cloaked the spy in secrecy, making her identity a mystery.
See also: cloak, secrecy


involving secrecy and plotting. A great deal of cloak-and-dagger stuff goes on in political circles. A lot of cloak-and-dagger activity was involved in the appointment of the director.


COMMON You use cloak-and-dagger to describe activities, especially dangerous ones, which are done in secret. Now that the Berlin Wall has come down, the cloak-and-dagger world of East-West espionage might appear to be outdated. They met in classic cloak-and-dagger style beside the lake in St James's Park. Note: You can refer to such activities as cloaks and daggers. Working in police intelligence has very little to do with cloaks and daggers — it's mostly about boring reports and endless statistics. Note: You sometimes use this expression to suggest that people are treating these activities in an unnecessarily dramatic way. Note: This expression is taken from the name of a type of 17th century Spanish drama, in which characters typically wore cloaks and fought with daggers or swords.
References in periodicals archive ?
The size of the objects that can be efficiently cloaked with this method scales with the wavelength of operation, so when applied to optical frequencies, we may be able to efficiently stop the scattering of micrometer-sized objects," Alu said.
These cloaked antibodies can be used alone, or in conjunction with the many antibodies already produced against a wide variety of cancers.
Furthermore the 'perfect cloak' has to have a huge superstructure of two different sets of mirrors and is more than twice as wide as the region being cloaked.
Though heat isn't completely blocked, but only slowed, from dissipating into the cloaked area, Guenneau says there are potential applications for preventing materials from heating up too fast.
While previous studies have either been theoretical in nature or limited to the cloaking of two-dimensional objects, this new study by US researchers shows how ordinary objects can be cloaked in their natural environment in all directions and from all of an observer's positions.
The holes must be smaller than the wavelength of the light--mere tens of nanometers across for visible light, the shortest wavelengths cloaked to date.
The layers surround the object to be cloaked like an onion skin.
Although the study cloaked a microscopic object roughly the diameter of a red blood cell, the device demonstrates that it may be "capable of cloaking any object underneath a reflective carpet layer.
But charged particles wouldn't be fooled: They would interact with the cloak in a telltale way, giving up the cloaked object's location, researchers report in a paper to appear in Physical Review Letters.
The group showed that both the physical geometry and the spectrographic signature of a chemical strip about the width of 10 human hairs disappeared when cloaked.
After we placed the cloaked structure around the object we wanted to hide, the scattering or shadow effect was greatly reduced," Fang said.
Unlike the atoms and molecules that nature provides, which are limited in the combinations of electrical and magnetic permittivity and permeability, the novel metamaterials can mix and match E and g to provide exactly the radical refractive index variations that make light do loop-de-loops around a cloaked void, while obeying rules that would otherwise produce a straight route.
Until now, however, cloaking techniques have come with a significant limitation--they need to be orders of magnitude larger than the object being cloaked.
They have cloaked metal cylinders two to three inches in diameter and three to four inches high.
The key is that electromagnetic waves still enter the cloaked area and hit the object--a requirement for an antenna to pick up a signal, for example.