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Characterized by, acting with, or suggesting stealth or a desire to avoid discovery; surreptitious: "J.W. from time to time gave her a furtive squeeze of the hand, but they never got to go out alone any more" (John Dos Passos). See Synonyms at secret.

[French furtif, from Old French, from Latin fūrtīvus, from fūrtum, theft, from fūr, thief; see bher- in Indo-European roots.]

fur′tive·ly adv.
fur′tive·ness n.
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.furtiveness - a disposition to be sly and stealthy and to do things surreptitiously
secretiveness, closeness - characterized by a lack of openness (especially about one's actions or purposes)


The act of proceeding slowly, deliberately, and secretly to escape observation:


n (of action)Heimlichkeit f; (of behaviour, person)Heimlichtuerei f; (of look)Verstohlenheit f
References in classic literature ?
It seemed to be the figure of a woman, wrapped up in a ragged cloak and evidently disguised to avoid notice; there was something very strange both about the rags and the furtiveness in a person coming out of those rooms lined with gold.
Children can cope with honesty, what they can't cope with is furtiveness and what they might see as a cover up.
There's something reptilian in Lasdun's gaze, a coldblooded interest in furtiveness, in the lithe selfishness of the genteel," book reviewer Charles Finch wrote in The New York Times.
The word 'secrecy' implies a kind of furtiveness or stealth that doesn't quite capture the gendered dimensions of kunya that constrain the range of respectable options available to women.
Growing out of the western tradition, Zaven's original piano score echoes all the shorn fragility and furtiveness of her contemporary practice.
But there he is again, peering up at me through thick eyelashes, his furtiveness turning him for the briefest moment into a little boy, and I find myself, reaching again and again for that look.
People vote for Hamas because of its plan for resistance," he said, with the furtiveness of someone who knows his political views could see him rearrested at any moment.
Hawkish analysts presumed the worst of Soviet furtiveness.
While we are accustomed to the furtiveness of fog, Gail Skofronik-Jackson and colleagues reveal the similar smoke and mirrors game played by cold season precipitation (p.
As Kambili begins to string the pieces of the painting with an utmost sense freedom and observes her father with a defiant air of unequivocal expression of rejection, condemnation and disintegration of the unproductive upbringing that he has given her, the furtiveness with which she handles the work of art contradicts everything her father stands for.
185) 'He closes the folding door, having first crushed the slip with pretended furtiveness into his right handpocket, puts the keys into his left-hand pocket'.