‘Sneek' or 'Sneak': Which is the Correct Spelling?

By Amy Gilmore, updated on June 9, 2023

Do you need to know whether 'sneek' or 'sneak' is the correct spelling?

Here is the short answer: 

  • 'Sneek' is a common misspelling of the word 'sneak.'
  • 'Sneak' is a verb, noun, and adjective that means to do something discreetly or secretly. 

To learn more about the term, read the rest of this guide. It contains the definition, pronunciation, usage tips, and sentence samples.

Which is the Correct Spelling: 'Sneek' or 'Sneak?'

'Sneak' is the correct spelling, although many people mistakenly spell the word 'sneek.' Part of the confusion arises from the pronunciation. You spell many words with the long e sound with ea, for example:

  • Eat
  • Speak
  • Read
  • Lead
  • Real
  • Real
  • Meal
  • Knead
  • Meal
  • Teal
  • Learn
  • Bean
  • Mean
  • Glean
  • Clean
  • Flea
  • Plea
  • Veal
  • Seal
  • Seam
  • Beam
  • Gleam
  • Team
  • Each
  • Beach
  • Leach
  • Peach
  • Leak
  • Peak

However, there are plenty of English words spelled with two e's, for example:

  • Seen
  • Keen
  • Peel
  • Heel
  • Keel
  • Feel
  • Leek
  • Peek

When it comes to these spellings, you have to memorize each because there are also words spelled with ea that have a short e sound, for example:

How Do You Know When to Use 'Sneak?'

You know the correct spelling and that 'sneak' can be a verb, noun, or adjective. But how do you use it?

  • Use 'sneak' as a noun for someone who does something secretly.

For example, you might say:

She is such a sneak. We caught her sneaking out three times last week.

  • Use 'sneak' as a verb to describe someone sneaking.

For example, you might hear someone say:

Do not sneak around after dark. If my dad catches you, he will not be happy.

  •  Use 'sneak' as an adjective meaning surprise.

For example, I might say something like:

The sneak attack caught the opponent off guard.

  • Use 'sneak' to accuse someone of being intentionally deceptive.

For example, you could say:

You can only sneak around for so long. Eventually, your actions will come to light. So, you might as well face up to the music now. 

Definition of 'Sneak': What Does 'Sneak' Mean?

According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, the definition of 'mean' is:

  • To do something stealthily

It can also mean:

  • To act in a furtive way
  • In sports, to carry the football past the quarterback
  • To take something in a stealth manner
  • A person who works in a secretive way, mostly to do something shady
  • To happen with little or no warning
  • To act or approach something stealthily
  • To slink, skulk, or sneak about
  • To act secretively

Synonyms of 'Sneak'

Synonyms are helpful because they can prevent your writing from becoming monotonous or repetitive. So, here are some words you can use instead of 'sneak.'

  • Lurk
  • Slink
  • Snake
  • Steal
  • Covert
  • Stealth
  • Undercover
  • Spy
  • Privy
  • Hush-hush
  • Secret
  • Confidential
  • Secretive
  • Behind-the-scenes
  • Underground
  • Off-the-record
  • Concealed
  • Shady
  • Covert
  • Furtive
  • Underhanded
  • Off-the-books
  • Infiltrate
  • Worm
  • Wiggle
  • Snake
  • Crawl
  • Creep
  • Tiptoe
  • Mouse
  • Slip
  • Slide
  • Inch
  • Edge
  • Wiggle
  • Slither
  • Weasle
  • Swindle
  • Snoop
  • Stalk

Antonyms for 'Sneak'

Antonyms are words that are opposite a term. Here are a few antonyms of 'sneak.'

  • Public
  • Overt
  • Aboveboard
  • Obvious
  • Out-in-the-Open
  • Acknowledged
  • Displayed
  • Unconcealed
  • Broadcast

Words and Phrases Containing 'Sneak'

Below are some frequently used phrases that contain the word 'sneak.' Read through them; you have likely heard someone use them before.

  • Sneak attack
  • Sneak out
  • Sneak off
  • Sneak around
  • Sneak by
  • Sneak in
  • Sneak past
  • Sneaky snake

Pronunciation: How to Pronounce 'Sneak?'

It is also essential to learn how to pronounce terms correctly. Knowing how to say words makes you more confident to use them.

So, here is a pronunciation guide: 

  • Use these phonetic spellings to pronounce 'sneak' correctly:

snēk od sneek

Notice the long e sound. It is the reason that many mistakenly spell it 'sneek.'

Sample Sentences Using 'Sneak?'

Now that you know the correct spelling, definition, and pronunciation, read these sample sentences. They will help you learn how to use 'sneak' in different contexts.

  • What a sneak! We haven't seen our roommate in weeks, but she comes in after we go to sleep and eats our food. Then, she leaves before we wake up.
  • It is best to announce yourself as you walk into a room. If you sneak up on someone, you will likely scare them.
  • I heard you sneak out last night! If you do not do my chores today, I am going to let the cat out of the bag.
  • There is a difference between being a sneak and enjoying your privacy. You aren't obligated to tell other people what you are doing as long as you are not doing something deceptive.
  • Have you ever had the sense that someone was being sneaky? You can't pinpoint exactly what they are doing, but it always seems like they are up to something.
  • We have been sneaking around for months planning this surprise party. I have no idea how no one blew it.
  • I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but your boyfriend has been sneaking around with his ex. I saw them eating at a sit-down restaurant the other day.
  • You know what they say, 'Fools rush in.' I always knew he was a sneak, but I didn't want to admit it to myself because I really liked him.

The Last Word on Whether the Correct Spelling is 'Sneek' or 'Sneak'

We covered a ton of information. So, let's do a quick recap:

  • 'Sneek' is a common misspelling of the word 'sneak.'
  • 'Sneak' is a noun, verb, or adjective that means to do something covertly or without the knowledge of others.

In this term, ea makes an ee sound, so people confuse the spelling. So, if you ever get stuck on whether the correct spelling is 'sneek' or 'sneak,' you can always return to this page to review this lesson.

You can also expand your vocabulary and learn essential grammar rules by reading the confusing word posts here. Each contains usage information, definitions, pronunciations, explanations, and examples to help you learn and remember each word. Plus, they are a great resource to verify that you are using terms accurately.

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Written By:
Amy Gilmore
Amy Gilmore is one of the lead freelance writers for WritingTips.org. She has been a professional writer and editor for the past eight years. She developed a love of language arts and literature in school and decided to become a professional freelance writer after a demanding career in real estate. Amy is constantly learning to become a better writer and loves sharing tips with other writers who want to do the same.

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