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.
1. Knowing; skillful; dexterous. “A cunning workman.”
“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.]
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.”
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:
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]
n 1: shrewdness in deception; "as cunning as a fox"
2: shrewdness as demonstrated by being skilled in deception
[syn: craft, craftiness, foxiness, guile, slyness,
3: drafty artfulness (especially in deception)