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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 of sly
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. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for slyness
Historical Examples
  • Although quite free from slyness, or anything unpleasantly furtive, it had a shut, reserved look when his eyes were cast down.

    The Way of Ambition Robert Hichens
  • It was like a child, frightened into slyness, coaxing its mother.

    Little Novels of Italy Maurice Henry Hewlett
  • He calls to mind all Mrs. Talbot had said about her slyness, and feels disheartened.

    The Haunted Chamber "The Duchess"
  • She had read him and was openly rejoicing in what she thought his slyness.

    The Call of the Blood Robert Smythe Hichens
  • “Greatly excited, no doubt,” interposed Mr. Perker, with a look of slyness which was very likely accidental.

  • Beauchamp was not insensible to the slyness of the poke at him.

  • With the slyness of a pair of cats, the evildoers crept up the companionway once more.

    At the Fall of Port Arthur Edward Stratemeyer
  • And some, like Florence, move with the slyness and softness of a cat.

    The Crystal Ball Roy J. Snell
  • In its union of slyness with audacity, the movement which Washington now executed strongly reminds one of “Stonewall” Jackson.

  • I should like to know what you think of yourself now with your slyness and deceit?

    Margaret Vincent Sophia Lucy Clifford
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

sly

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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10
11
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