Definition of furtive in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈfəːtɪv/


1Attempting to avoid notice or attention, typically because of guilt or a belief that discovery would lead to trouble; secretive: they spent a furtive day together he stole a furtive glance at her
More example sentences
  • For her part, Christine noticed the partially furtive glances, and it saddened her more than she would've cared to admit.
  • When their meal arrived, he forgot about them and did not notice the furtive glances the two reclusive men cast their way, although he glanced idly at them when they left the tavern.
  • Usually this would prompt me to snort: how about the homosexual church officials who preach this stuff in public while leading furtive double lives?
secretive, secret, surreptitious;
sly, sneaky, wily, underhand, under the table;
clandestine, hidden, covert, cloaked, conspiratorial, underground, cloak and dagger, hole and corner, hugger-mugger;
stealthy, sneaking, skulking, slinking;
sidelong, sideways, oblique, indirect;
Military  black
informal hush-hush, shifty
1.1Suggestive of guilty nervousness: the look in his eyes became furtive
More example sentences
  • The look the officer had given Ian had been furtive, almost guilty, and Ian sensed disapproval in the man's silence.
  • Arnold, even as he issues obligatory denials, is, unlike Bill, neither furtive nor guilty.
  • There was nothing furtive or nervous about him - it was as if he was perfectly entitled to be there.



Pronunciation: /ˈfəːtɪvnəs/
Example sentences
  • For our generation, then, the Sixties were indeed the beginning of sex, and we had an easier time than the previous generation who had the embarrassment, furtiveness and guilt, or later generations who had the threat of Aids.
  • The second thing was the furtiveness with which my inquiries were met.
  • More than honest, it's the image of a major artist courageously butting her head against the furtiveness and sadism of Stalinist and post-Stalinist bureaucracy.


Early 17th century: from French furtif, -ive or Latin furtivus, from furtum 'theft'.

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: fur|tive

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