The Meaning of Incognito: What It Is and How To Use It

Do you know the meaning of incognito? This article is going to teach you all about how to use the word incognito and its origin.

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Do you usually browse the internet in regular mode or in incognito mode when you are browsing online? If you’ve seen this word online or IRL, you might not have immediately understood what it meant. The Word Counter is here to help you learn this common and useful word!

What Does the Word Incognito Mean?

According to Collins Dictionary of the English Language, the word incognito can be used as an adverb or adjective to mean in disguise, hidden, or unseen. The word incognito is four syllables (in-cog-ni-to) and the pronunciation of incognito is ɪnkɒgniːtoʊ

The word incognito is often also used to describe a browser in incognito mode, which is a type of web browsing that makes your search history private. The way to open a new incognito window for a private browsing session can be found in settings or preferences in browsers like Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Safari, and Internet Explorer. 

Incognito mode works well as a privacy mode and can hide your default browsing history, eliminate third-party cookies, create secret tabs, and more.

What Is the Etymology of Incognito?

The word incognito has Italian origins. The Italian incognito originally comes from the Latin incognitus, meaning unknown. This comes from the prefix in– and the Latin cognitus. Cognitus is the past participle of cognoscere, meaning to know. 

What Are Translations of the Word Incognito?

Since the word incognito is Italian in origin, it makes sense that numerous languages would have their own translations. Use one of these translations if you plan on speaking with someone who does not speak English about someone who is undercover or in disguise. 

  • Icelandic: huldu höfði‎, undir dulnefni‎, undir fölsku nafni‎
  • Swedish: inkognito‎
  • Bokmål: inkognito‎
  • Nynorsk: inkognito‎
  • Dutch: incognito‎
  • Russian: инко́гнито‎
  • Portuguese: incognitamente‎
  • Finnish: tuntemattomana‎, nimettömästi‎, inkognito‎

How Can the Word Incognito Be Used in a Sentence?

Incognito is a word that can be used in many different contexts and sentences when someone is in disguise or undercover. Learning how to use a word in a sentence is crucial when trying to add it to your vocabulary. 

If you are trying to incorporate using the word incognito into your daily life, you can try studying the below example sentences that contain the word incognito:

The carpenter, Harris, decided to wear a baseball cap to the shipyards of the East India company so that he could remain incognito.

My cousin Princess Eugenie decided to flee the country incognito to marry a man by the name of Chopin who liked to play piano. They bounced around from Holland, New York, Toronto, and more to stay secret. 

He turned the browser to incognito mode so that his search history would be a secret from his mother. There were certain things that she did not need to see on his computer, and she was perfectly happy turning a blind eye.

I arrived at the Princeton University Halloween party totally incognito. My effective cloak and dagger made me totally unrecognizable, and the next day some people I know even asked me why I was not at the party.

In order to surprise her girlfriend for Valentines’ Day, the woman decided to go incognito to stealthily plan an immaculate date night for the two of them. 

What Are Synonyms for the Word Incognito?

Power Thesaurus provides a long list of synonyms for the word incognito that can be used in its place. Sometimes, using a word like incognito might not have the right connotation, or someone may have already used the word incognito too many times in a sentence. 

Try using one of these synonyms of incognito instead of the word incognito, and see which one you like best!

  • alias
  • anonym
  • anonymity
  • anonymous
  • anonymously
  • assumed name
  • camouflaged
  • concealed
  • covert
  • covertly
  • disguised
  • dissembled
  • evasive
  • false name
  • furtively
  • hidden
  • in disguise
  • in plain clothes
  • incog
  • innominate
  • isolated
  • masked
  • masquerading
  • mysterious
  • nameless
  • nom de guerre
  • nom de plume
  • obscure
  • on the sly
  • pen name
  • private
  • privately
  • professional name
  • pseudonym
  • secret
  • secretively
  • secretly
  • sobriquet
  • stage name
  • stealthily
  • surreptitiously
  • unacknowledged
  • uncredited
  • under a false name
  • undercover
  • undesignated
  • undisclosed
  • undubbed
  • unidentified
  • unknown
  • unnamed
  • unrecognized
  • unrevealed
  • unsigned
  • unspecified
  • unsung

What Are Antonyms of the Word Incognito?

Several words have the opposite meaning from incognito and can be used as adjectives or adverbs to describe things that are unconcealed, out in the open, or not hiding anything. 

Learning antonyms for a word that you already know is a fantastic way to quickly grow your English vocabulary. This list of antonyms of the word incognito from Power Thesaurus can help you learn many different words with the opposite meaning of incognito that you can use in conversations and written work:

  • accessible
  • baptized
  • celebrated
  • christened
  • civic
  • civil
  • collective
  • common
  • communal
  • community
  • community-based
  • denominated
  • designated
  • dubbed
  • eponymous
  • exceptional
  • explored
  • famed
  • famous
  • general
  • known
  • labeled
  • named
  • notable
  • noteworthy
  • openly
  • seen
  • unconcealed
  • unhidden
  • well-known


Overall, incognito is a word that means in disguise, undercover, or hidden. This word can be used as an adjective or an adverb and is also often used to describe a mode of browsing in which a person’s search history is hidden and not saved. 


  1. Incognito synonyms – 260 Words and Phrases for Incognito | Power Thesaurus 
  2. Incognito antonyms – 50 Opposites of Incognito | Power Thesaurus 
  3. Incognito definition and meaning | Collins English Dictionary