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From Middle English *furtyve (implied in furtyvely (adverb)), from Middle French furtif, furtive (“furtive, stealthy”) (modern French furtif), from Latin fūrtīvus (“clandestine, furtive, secret; concealed, hidden; stolen”), from fūrtum (“theft; robbery”) (from fūr (“thief”), ultimately from Proto-Indo-European *bʰer- (“to bear, carry”)) + -īvus (suffix forming adjectives).
- (Received Pronunciation) IPA(key): /ˈfɜːtɪv/
Audio (RP) (file)
- (General American) IPA(key): /ˈfɝtɪv/, [-ɾɪv]
Audio (GA) (file)
- (General Australian) IPA(key): [ˈfɜːɾɪv]
- Rhymes: -ɜːtɪv
- Hyphenation: furt‧ive
furtive (comparative more furtive, superlative most furtive)
- Of a thing: done with evasive or guilty secrecy.
- Synonyms: clandestine, surreptitious; see also Thesaurus:covert
- 1744, [François Gayot de Pitaval], “The History of Charles-Francis Harrouard, whom His Father and Mother Disowned to be Their Son”, in [anonymous], transl., A Select Collection of Singular and Interesting Histories. […], volume II, London: […] [A]ndrew Millar, […], →OCLC, page 280:
- […] The Defendant never vvas acknovvledged by the Sieur Harrouard’s Family, nor by that of his VVife. Thus, granting him to have been in Poſſeſſion of his Son’s Eſtate, it vvould only be a furtive and clandeſtine, not a public and avovved Poſſeſſion; and conſequently ſuch a Poſſeſſion as is incapable of founding a juſt and legal Title.
- 1787–1789, William Wordsworth, “An Evening Walk, Addressed to a Young Lady”, in Henry [Hope] Reed, editor, The Complete Poetical Works of William Wordsworth, Philadelphia, Pa.: Hayes & Zell, […], published 1860, →OCLC, page 27, column 2:
- [T]ender cares and mild domestic Loves, / With furtive watch, pursue her [a swan] as she moves; […]
- 1824, Geoffrey Crayon [pseudonym; Washington Irving], “The Adventure of the Mysterious Stranger”, in Tales of a Traveller, part 1 (Strange Stories. […]), Philadelphia, Pa.: H[enry] C[harles] Carey & I[saac] Lea, […], →OCLC, page 95:
- I noticed the same singular, and as it were, furtive glance over the shoulder that had attracted my attention in the Cassino.
- 1855, Arthur Pendennis [pseudonym; William Makepeace Thackeray], “An Old Friend”, in The Newcomes: Memoirs of a Most Respectable Family, volume II, London: Bradbury and Evans, […], →OCLC, page 128:
- The proprietor of the house cowered over a bed-candle and a furtive tea-pot in the back drawing-room.
- 1859, Charles Dickens, “A Hand at Cards”, in A Tale of Two Cities, London: Chapman and Hall, […], →OCLC, book III (The Track of a Storm), page 198:
- "Don't call me Solomon. Do you want to be the death of me?" asked the man, in a furtive, frightened way.
- 1902, [Alice Macdonald Fleming], “In Camp”, in [Alice Kipling; Alice Macdonald Fleming], Hand in Hand: Verses by a Mother and Daughter, London: [Charles] Elkin Mathews […]; New York, N.Y.: Doubleday, Page & Company, →OCLC, page 71:
- At the edge of my kingdom scurry / Creatures in feathers and furs— / Crows in a furtive hurry— / Hungry and cringing curs— […]
- 1949 June 8, George Orwell [pseudonym; Eric Arthur Blair], chapter 3, in Nineteen Eighty-Four: A Novel, London: Secker & Warburg, →OCLC; republished [Australia]: Project Gutenberg of Australia, August 2001, part 1, page 31:
- Actually, as Winston well knew, it was only four years since Oceania had been at war with Eastasia and in alliance with Eurasia. But that was merely a piece of furtive knowledge which he happened to possess because his memory was not satisfactorily under control.
- Of a thing: that has been acquired by theft; stolen; also (generally) taken stealthily.
- 1718, Mat[thew] Prior, “Solomon on the Vanity of the World. A Poem in Three Books.”, in Poems on Several Occasions, London: […] Jacob Tonson […], and John Barber […], →OCLC, book I (Knowledge), page 415:
- Novv ſhine theſe Planets vvith ſubſtantial Rays? / Does innate Luſtre gild their meaſur'd Days? / Or do they (as your Schemes, I think, have ſhovvn) / Dart furtive Beams, and Glory not their ovvn, / All Servants to that Source of Light, the Sun?
- Of a person or an animal: sly, stealthy.
- 1857, Pisistratus Caxton [pseudonym; Edward Bulwer-Lytton], chapter V, in What will He Do with It? (Collection of British Authors; CCCCXL), Tauchnitz edition, volume III, Leipzig: Bernhard Tauchnitz, →OCLC, book VI, page 159:
- All women have their foibles. Wise husbands must bear and forbear. Is that all? wherefore, then, is her aspect so furtive, wherefore on his a wild, vigilant sternness?
- 1864 May – 1865 November, Charles Dickens, “Setting Traps”, in Our Mutual Friend. […], volume II, London: Chapman and Hall, […], published 1865, →OCLC, book the fourth (A Turning), page 165:
- So, Riderhood looking after him as he went, and he with his furtive hand laid upon the dagger as he passed it, and his eyes upon the boat, were much upon a par.
- 1967, J[ohn] A[lec] Baker, “[The Peregrine] The Hunting Life”, in John Fanshawe, editor, The Peregrine, The Hill of Summer & Diaries: The Complete Works of J. A. Baker, London: Collins, published 2011, →ISBN, page 48:
- Gluttonous, hoarding jay; he should have hedge-hopped and lurched from tree to tree in his usual furtive manner.
- Of a person, etc.: inclined to steal; pilfering, thieving.
- Synonym: thievish
of a thing: exhibiting guilty or evasive secrecy
of a person or animal: sly, stealthy
of a thing: that has been acquired by theft — see stolen
of a person, etc.: inclined to steal — see thieving
- The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout § Translations.
Translations to be checked
- ^ “furtive, adj.”, in OED Online , Oxford, Oxfordshire: Oxford University Press, December 2022; “furtive, adj.”, in Lexico, Dictionary.com; Oxford University Press, 2019–2022.
furtive f pl
- “furtive”, in Charlton T. Lewis and Charles Short (1879) A Latin Dictionary, Oxford: Clarendon Press
- “furtive”, in Charlton T. Lewis (1891) An Elementary Latin Dictionary, New York: Harper & Brothers
- furtive in Gaffiot, Félix (1934) Dictionnaire illustré latin-français, Hachette
- English terms derived from Proto-Indo-European
- English terms derived from the Proto-Indo-European root *bʰer-
- English terms derived from the Proto-Indo-European root *-wós
- English terms inherited from Middle English
- English terms derived from Middle English
- English terms derived from Middle French
- English terms derived from Latin
- English 2-syllable words
- English terms with IPA pronunciation
- English terms with audio links
- Rhymes:English/ɜːtɪv/2 syllables
- English lemmas
- English adjectives
- English terms with quotations
- English terms suffixed with -ive
- French 2-syllable words
- French terms with IPA pronunciation
- French terms with audio links
- French non-lemma forms
- French adjective forms
- Italian non-lemma forms
- Italian adjective forms
- Italian adjective feminine forms
- Italian adjective plural forms
- Latin non-lemma forms
- Latin adjective forms