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[fur-tiv] /ˈfɜr tɪv/
taken, done, used, etc., surreptitiously or by stealth; secret:
a furtive glance.
sly; shifty:
a furtive manner.
Origin of furtive
1480-90; < Latin furtīvus, equivalent to furt(um) theft (compare fūr thief) + -īvus -ive
Related forms
furtively, adverb
furtiveness, noun
1. clandestine, covert. 2. underhand, cunning. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for furtively
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Faust gave a little start and searched Dixon's face, furtively.

    Thoroughbreds W. A. Fraser
  • Chip held the creams to a walk and furtively watched his companion.

    Chip, of the Flying U B. M. Bower
  • If they watched me furtively whenever I went out of doors, I affected not to see it.

    Green Mansions W. H. Hudson
  • That evening in his library, from my seat by the table, I furtively watched my father's face.

    The Harbor Ernest Poole
  • Not once did they suggest a meeting, nor did they ever furtively exchange a kiss.

    Therese Raquin Emile Zola
British Dictionary definitions for furtively


characterized by stealth; sly and secretive
Derived Forms
furtively, adverb
furtiveness, noun
Word Origin
C15: from Latin furtīvus stolen, clandestine, from furtum a theft, from fūr a thief; related to Greek phōr thief
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for furtively

late 15c.; from furtive + -ly (2).



late 15c. (implied in furtively), from French furtif, from Latin furtivus "stolen, hidden, secret," from furtum "theft, robbery," from fur (genitive furis) "thief," probably from PIE *bhor-, from root *bher- (1) "to carry" (see infer). Related: Furtiveness.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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