June 23, 2011
- furtive (adjective)
- What does it mean?
- : done in a sneaky or sly manner
- How do you use it?
- "Diana preserved a discreet silence, but she and Anne exchanged furtive smiles of guilty amusement across the table." (Lucy Maud Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables)
- Are you a word wiz?
The word "furtive" traces back to the Latin root word "fur." What do you think that root means?You caught us red-handed if you picked answer B, "thief." "Furtive" has a shadowy history -- it may have come directly from Latin, or it may have sneaked into English through French. But however "furtive" got into English, the Latin word "fur," meaning "thief," is at the root. "Fur" may come from the Greek "phor" which also means "thief." It's not surprising that the root word of "furtive" means "thief," since a thief must behave in a furtive manner to avoid getting caught in the act!