Definition of stealth in US English:



  • Cautious and surreptitious action or movement.

    ‘the silence and stealth of a hungry cat’
    ‘why did you slip away by stealth like this?’
    • ‘We must respect property rights in this country, and unfortunately the Resource Management Act is increasingly becoming a vehicle for socialisation by stealth.’
    • ‘He has done this by stealth, by chipping away little by little and creating an Australia in his own image.’
    • ‘They also recommend sufficient time for public debate to occur - fundamental change should not occur by stealth.’
    • ‘The district's cottage hospitals are being undermined by a policy of closure by stealth, a health watchdog has warned.’
    • ‘Our feeling is one of powerlessness - and that must sooner or later transform into civil unrest - as it should do when democracy is threatened or simply taken by stealth.’
    • ‘Still, the visual dissimilarity among works and within mediums is offset by a coolly consistent emotional tenor that overtakes the viewer as if by stealth.’
    • ‘If this looks suspiciously like renationalisation by stealth, then at least this represents a positive move, considering the industry's poor record since privatisation.’
    • ‘I agree, it doesn't necessarily mean much if the money earned is unsubstantial - but it's still commercialisation by stealth.’
    • ‘Thirty-four years later the issue is being reopened by stealth.’
    • ‘I do find it dishonest that Harper is pushing this effectively by stealth in this campaign.’
    • ‘The Prime Minister has, in fact, carried out a coup d' état by stealth.’
    • ‘The danger is that the Tralee hospital will be starved of investment and, by implication, be downgraded by stealth over a period of time.’
    • ‘The proper thing for these people to do is to resign and stand for election, rather than continue attempting to impose their ideological agenda by stealth from within the government.’
    • ‘Rather, the commission is likely to pursue consumption taxation by stealth and indirection.’
    • ‘Now the proliferation of public-private partnerships pushes us further down this track, towards privatisation by stealth.’
    • ‘He admitted that he captured my photo by stealth while I was hosting a chat session.’
    • ‘These objectives, in the hands of the present Government, will almost inevitably impact on the activities of individuals and groups through regulation by stealth.’
    • ‘It is legislation by stealth, it is illegitimate, and thankfully it seems to be working less well recently.’
    • ‘Surprisingly the fundamental change of Indonesia's government structure has been introduced by stealth.’
    • ‘The over riding concern expressed by the elected members was that the County Manager was in effect and by stealth easing them all into retirement.’
    furtiveness, secretiveness, secrecy, surreptitiousness, sneakiness, slyness, covertness, stealthiness, clandestineness
    View synonyms


  • (chiefly of aircraft) designed in accordance with technology that makes detection by radar or sonar difficult.

    ‘a stealth bomber’
    • ‘The cost for a single B2 stealth bomber is in the range of billions of dollars.’
    • ‘Most aircraft design schemes call for advances on wing and fuselage shapes pioneered in today's stealth aircraft.’
    • ‘The Pentagon introduced misleading information pertinent to stealth aircraft, space defense, and tactical aircraft.’
    • ‘Terrorism works to eclipse military use of ultimate weapons like stealth aircraft, precision-guided munitions, and nukes.’
    • ‘A conventional aircraft ‘package’ may employ up to 40 aircraft, while a stealth aircraft can conduct the mission by itself.’
    • ‘The same flight control radar systems are used in helicopters, low-flying private planes, light aircraft and stealth bombers.’
    • ‘The cause of the attack has been kept vague so far, there were early reports of a U.S. military accident involving a stealth bomber, but nobody's believing that for long.’
    • ‘Museum officials plan to roll out for permanent public exhibit a B - 2 Spirit stealth bomber.’
    • ‘This could become the greatest the legacy of your presidency, perhaps even rivaling our eventual victory in the war on terrorism, and at a cost of much less than that a single stealth bomber.’
    • ‘The US operates a fleet of more than 15,000 aircraft, including 20 stealth bombers in service.’
    • ‘The development of stealth aircraft has had some transformational effects on airpower.’
    • ‘The B - 2 bomber, commonly known as the stealth bomber, was an ambitious project, to say the least.’
    • ‘But while one of these electro-optical sights will see a stealth aircraft, a radar would not be able to point it in the right direction.’
    • ‘With the stealth technology in our hands, we have designed countermeasures.’
    • ‘A British research and development company, which claims to have invented a method to detect stealth aircraft, has clammed up on details about its technology.’
    • ‘After the Gulf War he was put in charge of a taskforce code named ‘Al Babel’ to develop stealth technology to make aircraft and missiles undetectable on radar.’
    • ‘THE JSF is intended to set new benchmarks in affordability, availability and supportability for a high-performance stealth aircraft.’
    • ‘Named after the stealth aircraft, this edgy band hails from Baltimore and not the UK as their music seems to tell us.’
    • ‘In fact, given our advantage in manned aircraft and stealth technology, no enemy is likely to challenge us directly in those areas.’
    • ‘Last month, the Herald Tribune newspaper ran a full-page colour advert for Northrop Grumman, the makers of the stealth bomber and one of the world's big arms manufacturers.’


Middle English (in the sense ‘theft’): probably representing an Old English word related to steal, + -th.