9 Grammatical Pitfalls


[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. 2015.
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Examples from the web for furtive
  • Still, here was the author's attempt to allow opposites-peril and bliss, furtive lovers and traditional family-to harmonize.
  • The reasons for his action have been lost in a confounding tangle of furtive transactions and deliberately destroyed evidence.
  • My furtive hour-long expeditions gave way to daylong escapes.
  • Every office encounter includes a furtive glance at the papers left out on a desk.
  • But soon these furtive maneuvers might not be necessary.
  • The nature of her occupation kept her to furtive corners and the dark side of streets.
  • He had grizzled hair, and a certain uneasy, half-furtive look about the eyes.
  • It was in every pair of eyes that met other eyes in furtive roving.
  • Entrapment has long been a factor in the enforcement of vice laws, which seek to punish behavior that is furtive and widespread.
  • While the relationship was private, it can hardly be called furtive or clandestine.
British Dictionary definitions for furtive


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
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Word Origin and History for furtive

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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