Word of the Day – Furtive

Word of the Day : March 21, 2022


adjective FER-tiv

What It Means

Furtive means “done in a quiet and secret way to avoid being noticed.” It can also mean “sly.”

// He cast a furtive glance in our direction.

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FURTIVE in Context

“This little fluffy-looking character [a tree creeper] moves upwards on the tree in a jerky, furtive way in a similar way to that of a mouse on the ground. This style of movement gave rise to its common name of ‘tree mouse’ in parts of the UK.” — The Southern Star (Ireland), 3 Mar. 2022

Did You Know?

Furtive comes from either Latin furtivus or French furtif. The earliest known written uses of furtive are from the early 1600s. When first used in English, furtive meant “done by stealth,” and later also came to mean, less commonly, “stolen.” Whichever meaning you choose, the word has an elusive ancestry, which is particularly fitting, since a thief must be furtive to avoid getting caught in the act.