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[fur-tiv] /ˈfɜr tɪv/
taken, done, used, etc., surreptitiously or by stealth; secret:
a furtive glance.
sly; shifty:
a furtive manner.
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. 2014.
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Examples for furtively
  • The eels hung back, waited till the coast was clear, and then furtively jabbed at their shrimp.
  • Aggrieved office workers puffed furtively out their windows.
  • Then the smugglers have to furtively transport the stuff and find a buyer with deep pockets.
  • The latter were furtively rolled into cigars and cigarettes and then re-exported.
  • First, the illegitimate funds are furtively introduced into the legitimate financial system.
  • Chances are you're thinking of a large, bulky bird with huge eyes huddled furtively in a tree.
  • He open- ed the lid, still furtively, and took one hasty look at the face.
British Dictionary definitions for furtively


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
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for furtively
late 15c., from Fr. furtif, from L. furtivus "stolen, hidden, secret," from furtum "theft, robbery," from fur (gen. furis) "thief." Related: Furtiveness
late 15c.; from furtive + + -ly (2).
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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