Cun"ning (k?n"n?ng), a. [AS. cunnan to know, to be able. See 1st Con, Can.]


Knowing; skillfull; dexterous.

"A cunning workman."

Ex. xxxviii. 23.

"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.


Wrought with, or exibiting, skill or ingenuity; ingenious; curious; as, cunning work.

Over them Arachne high did lift
Her cunning web. Spenser.


Crafty; sly; artful; designid; deceitful.

They are resolved to be cunning; let others run the hazard of being sincere. South.


Pretty or pleasing; as, a cunning little boy

. [Colloq. U.S.]


Syn. -- Cunning, Artful, Sly, Wily, Crafty. 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. "Acunning 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 defence."



© Webster 1913.

Cun"ning, n. [AS. cunnung trial, or Icel. kunnandi knowledge. See Cunning, a.]


Knowledge; art; skill; dexterity.


Let my right hand forget her cunning. Ps. cxxxvii. 5.

A carpenter's desert Stands more in cunning than in power. Chapman.


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.


© Webster 1913.

Log in or register to write something here or to contact authors.