3 definitions found

From The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48 [gcide]:

Cunning \Cun"ning\ (k[u^]n"n[i^]ng), adjective [AS. cunnan to know, to be able. See 1st {Con}, {Can}.]

1. Knowing; skillful; dexterous. "A cunning workman." -- Ex. xxxviii. 23.

"Tis beauty truly blent, whose red and white Nature's own sweet and cunning hand laid on. --Shak.

Esau was a cunning hunter. --Gen xxv. 27.

2. Wrought with, or exhibiting, skill or ingenuity; ingenious; curious; as, cunning work.

Over them Arachne high did lift

Her cunning web. --Spenser.

3. Crafty; sly; artful; designing; deceitful.

They are resolved to be cunning; let others run the hazard of being sincere. --South.

4. Pretty or pleasing; as, a cunning little boy. [Colloq. U.S.] --Barlett.

Syn: {Cunning}, {Artful}, {Sly}, {Wily}, {Crafty}.

Usage: These epithets agree in expressing an aptitude for attaining some end by peculiar and secret means. Cunning is usually low; as, a cunning trick. Artful is more ingenious and inventive; as, an artful device. Sly implies a turn for what is double or concealed; as, sly humor; a sly evasion. Crafty denotes a talent for dexterously deceiving; as, a crafty manager. Wily describes a talent for the use of stratagems; as, a wily politician. A cunning man often shows his dexterity in simply concealing. An artful man goes further, and exerts his ingenuity in misleading. A crafty man mingles cunning with art, and so shapes his actions as to lull suspicions. The young may be cunning, but the experienced only can be crafty. Slyness is a vulgar kind of cunning; the sly man goes cautiously and silently to work. Wiliness is a species of cunning or craft applicable only to cases of attack and defense." --Crabb.

From The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48 [gcide]:

Cunning \Cun"ning\, noun [AS. cunnung trial, or Icel. kunnandi knowledge. See {Cunning}, adjective]

1. Knowledge; art; skill; dexterity. [Archaic]

Let my right hand forget her cunning. --Ps. cxxxvii. 5.

A carpenter's desert Stands more in cunning than in power. --Chapman.

2. The faculty or act of using stratagem to accomplish a purpose; fraudulent skill or dexterity; deceit; craft.

Discourage cunning in a child; cunning is the ape of wisdom. --Locke.

We take cunning for a sinister or crooked wisdom. --Bacon.

From WordNet (r) 3.0 (2006) [wn]:



1: attractive especially by means of smallness or prettiness or quaintness; "a cute kid with pigtails"; "a cute little apartment"; "cunning kittens"; "a cunning baby" [syn: {cunning}, {cute}]

2: marked by skill in deception; "cunning men often pass for wise"; "deep political machinations"; "a foxy scheme"; "a slick evasive answer"; "sly as a fox"; "tricky Dick"; "a wily old attorney" [syn: {crafty}, {cunning}, {dodgy}, {foxy}, {guileful}, {knavish}, {slick}, {sly}, {tricksy}, {tricky}, {wily}]

3: showing inventiveness and skill; "a clever gadget"; "the cunning maneuvers leading to his success"; "an ingenious solution to the problem" [syn: {clever}, {cunning}, {ingenious}]


1: shrewdness as demonstrated by being skilled in deception [syn: {craft}, {craftiness}, {cunning}, {foxiness}, {guile}, {slyness}, {wiliness}]

2: crafty artfulness (especially in deception)

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Monday, March 30, 2015 5:24:37 AM Coordinated Universal Time (UTC)