Word of the Day: Furtive

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Furtive (fûr’tìv) is an adjective used to express caution or secrecy. Synonyms include stealthy and surreptitious. It comes from the Latim furtum (theft).

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… (George Orwell, Nineteen Eighty-Four)

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3 thoughts on “Word of the Day: Furtive”

  1. You casually place ‘furtive’ as your word-of-the-day, thinking no doubt that no one would be aware of its secret cryptogrammic use (well it was risky, but not as risky as using it in a word-of-the-night feature). I learned of the conspiracy by chance, when I was a taxi-driver and doing research for a multinational plastics conglomerate. They were using a key-2-rebecca type coding system for a new product. I don’t want to go into all the details, but I’ll just say that it came to my attention that nearly every great work of literature contains the word ‘furtive’. And lesser works do not. Yet – and this is very strange – Moby Dick does not. Could it be just that a tale about a whale can in no way ever be furtive? Or is that the great white whale itself is so furtive that any use of the word would be redundant – and Melville is bigger than we thought? But more likely, this word is being used to sort out who will be the sheep, and who will be the goats in a new world order.

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