What would be an adjective that describes a person or a company that purposely hides information for its advantage, but to another's disadvantage? I'm feeling there's a word more appropriate than deceptive, dishonest or insincere, more along the lines of sneaky.

An example might be a services company that overcharges and purposely does not issue a time breakdown of their bill.


4 Answers 4


I might call them underhanded

marked by secrecy, chicanery, and deception : not honest and aboveboard : sly

or deceitful

having a tendency or disposition to deceive

  • I'd go with deceitful, too.
    – Karl
    Commented Jul 1, 2012 at 6:22

There is calculating, which has definitions of "selfishly scheming" or "crafty, coldly scheming, or conniving."

There is also disingenuous, which has one definition of "not straightforward or candid; insincere or calculating."


After reading your example sentence – the one about the dishonest utility company – one word that sprang into my mind was corrupt. Using a thesaurus from there, I found these other candidates: unscrupulous, fraudulent, unprincipled, untrustworthy. A more informal term might be crooked.

Out of those, I like untrustworthy as applied to an individual, and perhaps fraudulent when talking about an institution or company. Quite often, corrupt seems to be used to describe dishonest leaders and authorities (such as politicians, or a police force). From NOAD:

enter image description here


How about sly? It is a long-established word but without the slangy feel of sneaky.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.