Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus.
Like this video? Subscribe to our free daily email and get a new idiom video every day!
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.
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.
See also: sneak
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 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)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”