furtive was our Word of the Day on 03/18/2017. Hear the podcast!
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Examples of furtive in a Sentence
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
Fall's pleasures were furtive, risky, short-lived-buckeye fights, … the endless recipes for the apples Mrs. Railsbeck asked him to fetch from the cobwebbed crate in the basement. —Stewart O'Nan, The Names of the Dead, 1996
… it made Shepherd look furtive, wary, hunted—as if the photographer had shot him against his will, in the act of slamming the door. —Helen Garner, The First Stone, 1995
He cast a furtive glance in our direction.
We exchanged furtive smiles across the table.
Recent Examples of furtive from the Web
Word of the feline's furtive feat spread quickly among the guests.
To this day, Hong Kong remains the sole place on Chinese soil where citizens can march and speak and publish freely, and where discussions of the Tiananmen massacre can be full-throated rather than furtive.
Barring Americans from stepping foot in North Korea would mark the latest U.S. step to isolate the furtive, nuclear-armed nation, and protect U.S. citizens who may be allured by the prospect of traveling there.
More like furtive, despite an implied invitation to stare openly.
As a young attorney, he was involved in a furtive effort to oppose President Bill Clinton by offering legal aid to his accusers and spreading accusations against him.
The subjects come to life through furtive glances, wry smiles, unforgiving stares, and eyes hardened by horrors past.
The trooper, who had noticed the driver making furtive movements while behind the wheel, had him get out of the car for a patdown.
One boardinghouse remained in business, but the nine tenants were very quiet, almost furtive, like the last remaining members of a foreign enclave who, daily, expect deportation.
These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'furtive'. Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.
Did You Know?
Furtive has a shadowy history. It may have slipped into English directly from Latin or it may have covered its tracks by arriving via French. (The French furtif derived from the Latin furtivus.) But however "furtive" got into English, the Latin word fur, meaning "thief," is at the root. "Fur" is related to, and may come from, the Greek phōr, which also means "thief." When first used in English in the early 17th century, "furtive" carried a meaning of "done in a way so as not to be seen," though later it also came to mean, less commonly, "stolen." Whichever meaning you choose, the elusive ancestry of "furtive" is particularly fitting, since a thief must be furtive to avoid getting caught in the act!
Synonym Discussion of furtive
FURTIVE Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of furtive for English Language Learners
: done in a quiet and secret way to avoid being noticed
FURTIVE Defined for Kids
Definition of furtive for Students
: done in a sneaky or sly manner a furtive look
Seen and Heard
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