I have searched everywhere, but I cannot find a word or two words that define the following:

To be completely invisible except to those who have been chosen.

Basically, I am in search of a word that means "to be invisible to everyone except the people I choose".

Is there such a word? Or is there more than one word for this?

  • Um, I guess. I'm making a little forum for a website i'm working on, and one of the requirements is that people can add each other and there's so many options it has to have that revolve around sending/receiving stuff to/from other "friends" on this forum. And I've been told that the privacy has to be as good as possible. And they're giving this forum a name of its own, so I was just wondering what the best word would be to describe being able to completely be invisible to everyone except the people you choose
    – Paul Vitti
    Commented Jun 19, 2011 at 11:47
  • I really just think "private" is the best choice, for the exact web-site situation you describe. (Private, with some further explanations. So, "Your name remains totally private. It is only revealed to other members of your choosing."
    – Fattie
    Commented Jun 19, 2011 at 19:09
  • @Joe Blow: That wouldn't be remains totally private, then. It'd be is private by default, but can be [selectively] revealed to other members [of your choosing]. Commented Jul 21, 2011 at 15:32

2 Answers 2


How about selective visibility?

selective |səˈlɛktɪv| • (of a process or agent) affecting some things and not others

  • Heh, that's awesome. I don't know how we didn't think of that - they're both words we use in everyday language over here (they actually keywords of a programming language I use). Great choice, and thanks!
    – Paul Vitti
    Commented Jun 18, 2011 at 17:47

Some words in the same general area of meaning are:

cryptic - which literally means "hidden" or "disguised", and esoteric - able to be understood only by those with special/secret knowledge.

A recent metaphor in this area is "dogwhistle" - a word or phrase that is meant to convey some special meaning to a chosen audience, while being (in effect) imperceptible to everyone else.

E.g. there are some words and phrases used by politicians to appeal to racist or other intolerant attitudes without being overtly offensive.

  • Another synonym for cryptic and esoteric is "arcane": understood by few, mysterious or secret. However they all refer to understanding; none of them capture the exact nuance of being unperceived. I have a word on the tip of my tongue, that I can't seem to find, that one would use to describe a naturalist in a forest, who sees things that an untrained person would not.
    – djs
    Commented Nov 26, 2018 at 21:58

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