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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.
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 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
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Word Origin and History for furtively

late 15c.; from furtive + -ly (2).



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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