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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 furtiveness
Historical Examples
  • He did so more because he wished not to pain her than from furtiveness.

  • furtiveness—complete disappearance if possible—is the whole point.

    Mushroom Town Oliver Onions
  • It was the furtiveness of it rather than the fact itself that troubled him.

    Dangerous Days Mary Roberts Rinehart
  • When he left her her once clear, careless glance had a suggestion of furtiveness in it.

    Love Stories Mary Roberts Rinehart
  • My grandmother noticed a furtiveness in his manner when he received them.

    Tramping on Life Harry Kemp
  • He was unshaven, and his eyes shone with the furtiveness of some hunted animal.

    The Lighted Way

    E. Phillips Oppenheim
  • She had but little of the curiosity of the flirt, and none of the intrigante's joy in furtiveness.

    Main Street Sinclair Lewis
  • And there was some haste in his slouching, loose-jointed gait which gave to his journey a suggestion of furtiveness.

    The Watchers of the Plains

    Ridgewell Cullum
  • The mountaineer is, by nature, secretive to furtiveness, and under so outright a questioning the visitor stiffened with affront.

    The Roof Tree Charles Neville Buck
  • The sound of a crackled twig off to the right had come to their ears, and it was a sound that carried the quality of furtiveness.

    The Roof Tree Charles Neville Buck
British Dictionary definitions for furtiveness


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 furtiveness



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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