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adjective fur·tive \ˈfər-tiv\

: done in a quiet and secret way to avoid being noticed

Full Definition of FURTIVE

a :  done by stealth :  surreptitious
b :  expressive of stealth :  sly <had a furtive look about him>
:  obtained underhandedly :  stolen
fur·tive·ly adverb
fur·tive·ness noun

Examples of FURTIVE

  1. He cast a furtive glance in our direction.
  2. We exchanged furtive smiles across the table.
  3. This means that they need use only quantum mechanics or only general relativity and can, with a furtive glance, shrug off the barking admonition of the other. —Brian Greene, The Elegant Universe, 1999

Origin of FURTIVE

French or Latin; French furtif, from Latin furtivus, from furtum theft, from fur thief, from or akin to Greek phōr thief; akin to Greek pherein to carry — more at bear
First Known Use: 1612

Synonym Discussion of FURTIVE

secret, covert, stealthy, furtive, clandestine, surreptitious, underhanded mean done without attracting observation. secret implies concealment on any grounds for any motive <met at a secret location>. covert stresses the fact of not being open or declared <covert intelligence operations>. stealthy suggests taking pains to avoid being seen or heard especially in some misdoing <the stealthy step of a burglar>. furtive implies a sly or cautious stealthiness <lovers exchanging furtive glances>. clandestine implies secrecy usually for an evil, illicit, or unauthorized purpose and often emphasizes the fear of being discovered <a clandestine meeting of conspirators>. surreptitious applies to action or behavior done secretly often with skillful avoidance of detection and in violation of custom, law, or authority <the surreptitious stockpiling of weapons>. underhanded stresses fraud or deception <an underhanded trick>.
FURTIVELY Defined for Kids


adjective fur·tive \ˈfər-tiv\

Definition of FURTIVE for Kids

:  done in a sneaky or sly manner <a furtive look>
fur·tive·ly adverb


Next Word in the Dictionary: furtumPrevious Word in the Dictionary: furthyAll Words Near: furtive
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