AskDefine | Define cunning

Dictionary Definition

cunning adj
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: 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 Dik"; "a wily old attorney" [syn: crafty, 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, ingenious]

Noun

1 shrewdness in deception; "as cunning as a fox"
2 shrewdness as demonstrated by being skilled in deception [syn: craft, craftiness, foxiness, guile, slyness, wiliness]
3 drafty artfulness (especially in deception)

User Contributed Dictionary

English

Pronunciation

Etymology

As a noun from Old English cunnung, as an adjective from Middle English cunnand

Adjective

  1. Sly; crafty; clever in surreptitious behaviour.
  2. Skillful.
  3. In the context of "rare": Cute, appealing.

Translations

sly
  • Dutch: sluw, slinks
  • Finnish: ovela, kiero
  • German: gerissen
  • Italian: furbo
  • Latin: callidus
  • Russian: коварный
skillful
  • Finnish: ovela, taitava
  • Latin: callidus
  • Russian: умелый

Noun

  1. The skill of being cunning, sly, conniving, or deceitful
  2. Aptitude in performance; skill, proficiency.
    • 2005, Plato, Sophist. Translation by Lesley Brown. 236d.
      indeed at this very moment he's slipped away with the utmost cunning into a form that's most perplexing to investigate.

Translations

skill of being sly or deceitful
aptitude

Extensive Definition

Cunning can refer to the following:

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

Byzantine, Daedalian, Machiavellian, Machiavellianism, Machiavellic, ability, acute, address, adept, adeptness, adroit, adroitness, agility, airmanship, ambidexterity, ambidextrous, animal cunning, apt, arch, art, artful, artfulness, artifice, artisanship, artistic, artistry, astute, authoritative, bad faith, bravura, brilliance, brilliant, cagey, cageyness, calculating, canniness, canny, capability, capacity, chiseling, clean, clever, cleverness, collusive, command, competence, control, coordinated, coordination, covinous, crack, crackerjack, craft, craftiness, craftsmanship, crafty, crooked, cunning, cunningness, cute, daedal, dainty, deceit, deceitful, deceitfulness, deep, deep-laid, deft, deftness, delicate, designing, devious, deviousness, dexterity, dexterous, dexterousness, dextrous, dextrousness, diplomacy, diplomatic, dishonest, dishonesty, dissemblance, dissimulation, double, double-dealing, double-faced, double-minded, double-tongued, doublehearted, doubleness, doubleness of heart, duplicitous, duplicity, efficiency, excellent, expert, expertise, expertness, facility, faithless, faithlessness, false, false-principled, falsehearted, falseheartedness, falseness, fancy, feline, finagling, finesse, foxiness, foxy, fraudulent, furtive, furtiveness, good, goodish, grace, graceful, grip, guile, guileful, guilefulness, handiness, handy, horsemanship, hypocrisy, improbity, indirect, indirection, ingenious, ingeniousness, ingenuity, insidious, insidiousness, inventive, keen, know-how, knowing, low cunning, magisterial, marksmanship, masterful, masterly, mastership, mastery, mignon, neat, no mean, pawkiness, pawky, perfidious, politic, practical ability, professional, proficiency, proficient, prowess, quick, quickness, quite some, readiness, ready, resource, resourceful, resourcefulness, satanic cunning, savoir-faire, savvy, scheming, seamanship, serpentine, sharp, sharpness, shiftiness, shifty, shrewd, shrewdness, skill, skillful, skillfulness, slick, slickness, slim, slippery, sly, slyness, smart, smooth, snaky, sneak attack, sneakiness, sneaky, some, sophistical, statesmanlike, stealthy, strategic, style, stylish, subtile, subtility, subtilty, subtle, subtlety, supple, surreptitious, surreptitiousness, tact, tactful, tactfulness, tactical, technical brilliance, technical mastery, technical skill, technique, the compleat, the complete, timing, treacherous, treacherousness, treachery, trickiness, trickish, tricksy, tricky, two-faced, two-facedness, underhand, underhanded, underhandedness, virtuosity, virtuoso, vulpine, wary, well-considered, well-contrived, well-designed, well-devised, well-done, well-invented, well-laid, well-planned, well-reasoned, well-thought-out, well-weighed, wile, wiliness, wily, wit, wizardry, workmanlike, workmanship
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