furtive was our Word of the Day on 03/18/2017. Hear the podcast!
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
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.
Blackouts, sirens, mattress on the floor, furtive visitor or ghost.
BRUSSELS — A noisy citizen journalist who reveled in verbal and physical fights in public spaces, Fayçal Cheffou never quite fit the profile of a furtive underground operative for the Islamic State.
While her strapping bodyguard hovers by the entrance doors to avoid drawing attention to her, fellow shoppers take furtive cell-phone photographs as Adele dithers over her food purchases.
As expected, the furtive fur-trapping epic The Revenant—featuring recent WIRED cover boy Leonardo DiCaprio—led the pack, earning 12 nominations in total.
Fiction undergirds all of these acts—of furtive movements, reasonable fear, and therapy through violence.
The furtive glance men make at the women's volleyball on the bar's TV up over there.
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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