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5 definitions found
 for cunning
From The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48 :

  Cunning \Cun"ning\ (k[u^]n"n[i^]ng), a. [AS. cunnan to know, to
     be able. See 1st Con, Can.]
     1. Knowing; skillful; dexterous. "A cunning workman." -- Ex.
        xxxviii. 23.
        [1913 Webster]
  
              "Tis beauty truly blent, whose red and white
              Nature's own sweet and cunning hand laid on. --Shak.
        [1913 Webster]
  
              Esau was a cunning hunter.            --Gen xxv. 27.
        [1913 Webster]
  
     2. Wrought with, or exhibiting, skill or ingenuity;
        ingenious; curious; as, cunning work.
        [1913 Webster]
  
              Over them Arachne high did lift
  
              Her cunning web.                      --Spenser.
        [1913 Webster]
  
     3. Crafty; sly; artful; designing; deceitful.
        [1913 Webster]
  
              They are resolved to be cunning; let others run the
              hazard of being sincere.              --South.
        [1913 Webster]
  
     4. Pretty or pleasing; as, a cunning little boy. [Colloq.
        U.S.] --Barlett.
  
     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." --Crabb.
            [1913 Webster]

From The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48 :

  Cunning \Cun"ning\, n. [AS. cunnung trial, or Icel. kunnandi
     knowledge. See Cunning, a.]
     1. Knowledge; art; skill; dexterity. [Archaic]
        [1913 Webster]
  
              Let my right hand forget her cunning. --Ps. cxxxvii.
                                                    5.
        [1913 Webster]
  
              A carpenter's desert
              Stands more in cunning than in power. --Chapman.
        [1913 Webster]
  
     2. The faculty or act of using stratagem to accomplish a
        purpose; fraudulent skill or dexterity; deceit; craft.
        [1913 Webster]
  
              Discourage cunning in a child; cunning is the ape of
              wisdom.                               --Locke.
        [1913 Webster]
  
              We take cunning for a sinister or crooked wisdom.
                                                    --Bacon.
        [1913 Webster]

From WordNet (r) 3.0 (2006) :

  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:
             cunning, 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 Dick"; "a wily
         old attorney" [syn: crafty, cunning, 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, cunning,
         ingenious]
      n 1: shrewdness as demonstrated by being skilled in deception
           [syn: craft, craftiness, cunning, foxiness,
           guile, slyness, wiliness]
      2: crafty artfulness (especially in deception)

From Moby Thesaurus II by Grady Ward, 1.0 :

  254 Moby Thesaurus words for "cunning":
     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
  
  

From The Devil's Dictionary (1881-1906) :

  CUNNING, n.  The faculty that distinguishes a weak animal or person
  from a strong one.  It brings its possessor much mental satisfaction
  and great material adversity.  An Italian proverb says:  "The furrier
  gets the skins of more foxes than asses."
  

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