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 formsfur·tive·ly, adverbfur·tive·ness, noun

Synonyms for furtive

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for furtiveness

concealment, stealthiness, slyness, secrecy, covertness

Examples from the Web for furtiveness

Historical Examples of furtiveness

  • 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.

British Dictionary definitions for furtiveness



characterized by stealth; sly and secretive
Derived Formsfurtively, adverbfurtiveness, noun

Word Origin for furtive

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

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