cunning
Pronunciation
  • IPA: /ˈkʌnɪŋ/
Adjective

cunning

  1. Sly; crafty; clever in surreptitious behaviour.
    • They are resolved to be cunning; let others run the hazard of being sincere.
  2. (obsolete) Skillful, artful.
    • Bible, Genesis xxv. 27
      Esau was a cunning hunter.
    • Bible, Exodus xxxviii. 23
      a cunning workman
    • c. 1601–1602, William Shakespeare, “Twelfe Night, or VVhat You VVill”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies: Published According to the True Originall Copies (First Folio), London: Printed by Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, OCLC 606515358 ↗, [Act I, scene v]:
      ''Tis beauty truly blent, whose red and white / Nature's own sweet and cunning hand laid on.
  3. (obsolete) Wrought with, or exhibiting, skill or ingenuity; ingenious.
    cunning work
    • Over them Arachne high did lift / Her cunning web.
  4. (US, colloquial, dated, New England) Cute, appealing.
    a cunning little boy
Synonyms Translations Translations Noun

cunning

  1. Practical knowledge or experience; aptitude in performance; skill, proficiency; dexterity.
    • 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.
  2. Practical skill employed in a secret or crafty manner; craft; artifice; skillful deceit; art or magic.
    • circa 1610-11 William Shakespeare, The Tempest, Act III scene ii:
      smallcaps Caliban: As I told thee before, I am subject to a tyrant, a sorcerer that by his cunning hath cheated me of the island.
  3. The disposition to employ one's skill in an artful manner; craftiness; guile; artifice; skill of being cunning, sly, conniving, or deceitful.
  4. The natural wit or instincts of an animal.
    the cunning of the fox or hare
  5. (obsolete) Knowledge; learning; special knowledge (sometimes implying occult or magical knowledge).
Synonyms Translations Translations
Cunning
Proper noun
  1. Surname



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