cunning

[kuhn-ing]
noun
1.
skill employed in a shrewd or sly manner, as in deceiving; craftiness; guile.
2.
adeptness in performance; dexterity: The weaver's hand lost its cunning.
adjective
3.
showing or made with ingenuity.
4.
artfully subtle or shrewd; crafty; sly.
5.
Informal. charmingly cute or appealing: a cunning little baby.
6.
Archaic. skillful; expert.
verb
7.
Obsolete. present participle of can1.

Origin:
1275–1325; (noun) Middle English; Old English cunnung, equivalent to cunn(an) to know (see can1) + -ung -ing1; (adj., v.) Middle English, present participle of cunnan to know (see can1, -ing2)

cunningly, adverb
cunningness, noun
overcunning, adjective
overcunningly, adverb
overcunningness, noun
quasi-cunning, adjective
quasi-cunningly, adverb


1. shrewdness, artfulness, wiliness, trickery, finesse, intrigue, slyness, deception. Cunning, artifice, craft imply an inclination toward deceit, slyness, and trickery. Cunning implies a shrewd, often instinctive skill in concealing or disguising the real purposes of one's actions: not intelligence but a low kind of cunning. An artifice is a clever, unscrupulous ruse, used to mislead others: a successful artifice to conceal one's motives. Craft suggests underhand methods and the use of deceptive devices and tricks to attain one's ends: craft and deceitfulness in every act. 2. adroitness. 3. ingenious, skillful. 4. artful, wily, tricky, foxy.
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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
cunning (ˈkʌnɪŋ)
 
adj
1.  crafty and shrewd, esp in deception; sly: cunning as a fox
2.  made with or showing skill or cleverness; ingenious
 
n
3.  craftiness, esp in deceiving; slyness
4.  cleverness, skill, or ingenuity
 
[Old English cunnende; related to cunnan to know (see can1), cunnian to test, experience, Old Norse kunna to know]
 
'cunningly
 
adv
 
'cunningness
 
n

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Etymonline
Word Origin & History

cunning
early 14c., prp. of cunnen "to know" (see can (v.)). Originally meaning "learned;" the sense of "skillfully deceitful" is probably 14c.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Example sentences
Maybe that is what keeps your bosses working more and more cunningly.
Cunningly designed sliding tracks keep the support pressure constant, no matter
  how the chair moves.
The temptation when reviewing his works, of course, is to imitate him cunningly.
Flashily theatrical, yet cunningly thought out and wrought, his wildly varied
  works make a knockout display.
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