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sly

[slahy] /slaɪ/
adjective, slyer or slier, slyest or sliest.
1.
cunning or wily:
sly as a fox.
2.
stealthy, insidious, or secret.
3.
playfully artful, mischievous, or roguish:
sly humor.
Idioms
4.
on the sly, secretly; furtively:
a tryst on the sly.
Origin
1150-1200
1150-1200; Middle English sly, sley < Old Norse slœgr sly, cunning
Related forms
slyly, slily, adverb
slyness, noun
unsly, adjective, unslyer or unslier, unslyest or unsliest.
unslyly, unslily, adverb
unslyness, noun
Synonyms
1. artful, subtle, foxy, crafty, shrewd, astute. 2. surreptitious, furtive, underhand, clandestine.
Antonyms
1. direct, obvious.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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British Dictionary definitions for slyness

sly

/slaɪ/
adjective slyer, slyest, slier, sliest
1.
crafty; artful a sly dodge
2.
insidious; furtive a sly manner
3.
playfully mischievous; roguish sly humour
noun
4.
on the sly, in a secretive manner
Derived Forms
slyly, slily, adverb
slyness, noun
Word Origin
C12: from Old Norse slǣgr clever, literally: able to strike, from slā to slay
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for slyness
n.

mid-14c., from sly (adj.) + -ness.

sly

adj.

c.1200, "skillful, clever, dexterous," from Old Norse sloegr "cunning, crafty, sly," from Proto-Germanic *slogis (cf. Low German slu "cunning, sly," German schlau), probably from base *slak- "to strike, hit" (see slay (v.)), with an original notion of "able to hit." Cf. German verschlagen "cunning, crafty, sly," schlagfertig "quick-witted," literally "strike-ready," from schlagen "to strike." A non-pejorative use of the word lingered in northern English dialect until 20c. On the sly "in secret" is recorded from 1812. Sly-boots "a seeming Silly, but subtil Fellow" is in the 1700 "Dictionary of the Canting Crew."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Idioms and Phrases with slyness
see: on the sly
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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