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1. To move around (some place) in a quiet, sneaky, inconspicuous, or furtive manner. Why are you sneaking around the back yard like that? Are you trying to hide something? I hate sneaking around like this, but I don't want Sarah to know what I'm planning for her birthday.
2. To move past or attempt to move past someone or something in a sneaky, furtive manner so as not to be noticed. We need to get into that warehouse, but I don't know how we're going to sneak around those guards.
3. To bypass or attempt to bypass the control or authority of some person, group, or thing. The giant corporation has been accused of sneaking around local and international tax laws through the use of illegal shell companies in tax havens around the world. They've been sneaking around the approval of the board with their research.
sneak away (from some place)
To leave, depart, or move away from some place in a quiet, sneaky, inconspicuous, or furtive manner. I snuck away from the party when things started getting so rowdy. I'll distract them so you have a chance to sneak away.
1. To enter (some place) in a quiet, sneaky, inconspicuous, or furtive manner, so as not to be detected. The burglar snuck in without making a sound. Marty got caught sneaking in to the house way past his curfew.
2. To transport someone or something in (to something or some place) in a surreptitious, deceitful, or stealthy manner, especially when it is illegal or forbidden to do so. In this usage, a noun or pronoun can be used between "sneak" and "in." My cousin tried to sneak me in to the club, even though I was only 18 years old. They were thrown out of the school dance for sneaking in bottles of alcohol.
3. To insert or include using sly, subtle, or surreptitious means something that is normally forbidden, unwanted, or frowned upon. In this usage, a noun or pronoun can be used between "sneak" and "in." The show's writers always try to sneak jokes in that would normally get rejected by the network censors. When I was writing my midterm paper, I managed to sneak in a quotation from a video game. I have to sneak vegetables in to my kids' meals, or else they simply won't eat them.
sneak in(to some place)
To enter some place in a quiet, sneaky, inconspicuous, or furtive manner. The burglar snuck in without making a sound. Marty came sneaking into the classroom, late as usual.
sneak out (of some place)
To exit some place in a quiet, sneaky, inconspicuous, or furtive manner. I managed to sneak out of the room without the teacher noticing me. I'll have to wait until my parents are asleep before I can sneak out can come meet you.
sneak past (someone or something)
1. Literally, to attempt to move past someone or something without being seen or detected. The spy used a disguise to sneak past the guards.
2. To transport someone or something past some guard, inspector, checkpoint, etc., in a surreptitious, deceitful, or stealthy manner, especially when it is illegal or forbidden to do so. In this usage, a noun or pronoun can be used between "sneak" and "in." I tried sneaking a bunch of Chinese snacks past customs and immigration when I flew back into Sydney Airport, but they caught me and made me throw them all away. My cousins tried to sneak me past the bouncer, even though I was only 18.
3. To cause something that is normally forbidden, unwanted, or frowned upon to be accepted or go unnoticed by someone or something through sly, subtle, or surreptitious means. In this usage, a noun or pronoun can be used between "sneak" and "in." The writers of the popular kids' show were always trying to sneak adult content past the network censors. The senators have been accused of trying to sneak unrelated spending increases past the rest of congress by hiding them inside the recent healthcare legislation.
sneak the sunrise past a rooster
To do something that is extremely difficult or nearly impossible. Primarily heard in US. Getting a shot past this talented goal keeper has been like sneaking the sunrise past a rooster for the opposing team.
sneak up (on someone or something)
1. To approach someone or something in a sneaky, furtive manner so as not to be noticed. Don't sneak up on me like that—you frightened the life out of me! We don't want the guards to see us, so we'll need to sneak up from the back.
2. To come up on someone or some group gradually or without being noticed. I've been so busy with my work that our wedding anniversary completely snuck up on me. The deadline is sneaking up on us, and we still haven't made any substantial progress.
sneak up to (someone or something)
To creep up to or alongside someone or something in a secretive or inconspicuous manner so as not to be seen or noticed. I snuck up to the window to see what was going on inside the building. She snuck up to the man and slipped a note into his bag.
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
sneak around (some place)
to move about a place in a sneaky or stealthy fashion. Please don't sneak around the house. It makes me nervous. Please stop sneaking around!
sneak around someone or something
1. Lit. to creep around or past someone or something. The cat sneaked around Molly and ran out the door. We had to sneak around the corner so we wouldn't be seen.
2. Fig. to circumvent the control or censorship of someone or some group. I think we can sneak around the board of directors and authorize this project ourselves. Yes, let's sneak around the board.
sneak in(to some place)
to enter a place quietly and in secret, perhaps without a ticket or permission. The kids tried to sneak into the rock concert, but they were stopped by the guards. Never try to sneak in. Sometimes they arrest you for trespassing.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
1. To move or operate in some place furtively or surreptitiously: The security guard caught the thief sneaking around the office after closing.
2. To do something without someone's knowledge, especially to engage in romantic relationships: I suspect her husband has been sneaking around. I think his wife was sneaking around on him.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Phrasal Verbs. Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
sneak the sunrise past a rooster
Attempt something that's impossible, or be slick enough to do something by stealth. This predominantly Southern expression was famously used by California Angels first baseman Joe Adock, who said that “trying to sneak a pitch past [Atlanta Braves hitting great] Hank Aaron is like trying to sneak the sunrise past a rooster.”
Endangered Phrases by Steven D. Price Copyright © 2011 by Steven D. Price