American Heritage Dictionary reads:


  • adv & adj, with one’s identity disguised or concealed. Used of a woman;
  • n, A woman or girl whose identity is disguised or concealed.

So, is it correct to say “Giselle Regan, an American reporter, went in incognita and used hidden cameras”?

closed as general reference by FumbleFingers, MetaEd, StoneyB, Daniel, JSBձոգչ Oct 3 '12 at 18:00

This question is too basic; it can be definitively and permanently answered by a single link to a standard internet reference source designed specifically to find that type of information. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • It's an adjective, so you would probably say "she went incognita", not "in incognita" – simchona Aug 11 '12 at 23:17
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    @simchona Perhaps this is the quasi-phrasal verb, to go in? – tchrist Aug 11 '12 at 23:29

If you read incognita as disguised, which you should, then the sentence reads:

  • Giselle Regan, an American reporter, went in disguised and used hidden cameras.

If that is the intended meaning, then your proofreading question is fine.

The OED gives:

A. adj. Of a female: Unknown or disguised; having one’s identity concealed or unavowed.

B. sb. 1. An unknown or disguised woman or girl; one whose identity is not made known. In 18th c. used often of a sweetheart.

2. Unknown or unavowed character or position (of a woman).

You may recognize this from the famous terra incognita. This is the same word as incognito, just put into the feminine form. The original pronunciation puts the stress on the second syllable, although you will often now hear it stressed on the penult.

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    incognito/incognita is Italian, while incognitus/incognita/incognitum was Latin. – Henry Aug 11 '12 at 23:49
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    It was more for the benfit of other readers as terra incognita was a Latin phrase and you switched languages mid-sentence. – Henry Aug 12 '12 at 0:46

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