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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


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.
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2022 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

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.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.


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 Now that the Berlin Wall has come down, the cloak-and-dagger world of East-West espionage might appear to be outdated.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.
Collins COBUILD Idioms Dictionary, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2012


Describing a secret or undercover operation. The term dates from seventeenth-century Spain, and the popular swashbuckling plays of Lope de Vega and Pedro Calderón de la Barca, filled with duels, intrigue, and betrayal. They were referred to as comedias de capa y espada, which was variously translated as “cloak-and-sword” or “cloak-and-dagger plays.” Somewhat later, in the nineteenth century, the term began to be applied to various kinds of romantic intrigue, and still later, to espionage. The idea of concealment was, of course, much older, and indeed, Chaucer wrote of “The smyler with the knyf under the cloke” (The Knight’s Tale).
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer
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References in periodicals archive ?
The INRS team accomplished this by first making the cloaking device shift colours of incoming light toward regions of the spectrum that will not be affected by propagation through the object.
Altering the stability suggests that the closest to ideal cloaking can be achieved if the stability value is the lowest possible.
Till now, in fact, the applications of ATA in the aeroacoustic field are limited to the cloaking of a small geometric irregularity on a flat wall, the so called carpet cloaking, using a numerically obtained quasi-conformal transformation as described in [15,16].
The carpet surface under which cloaking is achieved is described by a surface z(x, y).
It is noteworthy that all these cloaking approaches (i.e., Interval Cloak, Casper Cloak, and Clique-Cloak) require the user to expose the accurate coordinates to the trusted centralized anonymizer.
Jiang, "Electromagnetic cloaking by layered structure of homogeneous isotropic materials," Opt.
While RF cloaks are upwards of one-tenth of a meter in thickness in the GHz frequency bands, cloaking at visible frequencies dictates materials on the order of one micron, or one millionth of a meter, in thickness.
But, he added, "Developing a cloak to hide something takes a long time, so cloaking larger items with that technology is not really feasible." He agreed however, that other techniques could lead to larger cloaks.
And Pendry wasn't the only one thinking about a disappearing act--at about the same time, a Scottish physicist named Ulf Leonhardt published a paper on building a cloaking device.
The result of that work has been the creation of an intricate metamaterial used to construct a cloaking device that can deflect a microwave around an inner circular space.
NEWCASTLE University researchers coat the surface of a protein, such as an antibody, with an organic oil, a process called "cloaking".
In April 2007, a group of computer scientists from Purdue University debuted a rudimentary "optical cloaking" design that would, if constructed, render objects invisible from a distance.
Now, scientists have demonstrated a technology that could be a small step toward a "cloaking device." A set of concentric copper circles deflects electromagnetic waves so that they slide around a structure.
Professor John Pendry, from Imperial College London, said such a cloaking material may not take long to develop, assuming there is sufficient research into the technology.