I want to find a formal substitute for "under the radar." Consider this sentence:

In the beginning, it's normal for companies to _______________.

The best I could think of would be "unnoticed." However, I'm hoping there is a phrase that doesn't involve a negative prefix like "un".

  • You can avoid, if you wish, a word that has a negation prefix, but simply based on the question as asked, I would not find any problem with a word such as unnoticed. In fact, I would consider it an excellent choice.
    – brainchild
    Apr 7, 2020 at 4:29

2 Answers 2



the condition of being unknown - dictionary.com

In the beginning, it's normal for companies to operate in obscurity.

  • I agree that some form of obscure is a good choice given your constraints. Alternatives to the suggested phrase include remain in obscurity, or simply, as I would recommend, remain obscure.
    – brainchild
    Apr 7, 2020 at 4:26

In the beginning, it's normal for companies to ______be under the radar____.

more formal: go undetected/ go unnoticed/ be unregistered

The context is not clear and it may be better to think about what you want to say exactly. For example, not registering, not complying with tax obligations or being unlicensed.

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