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Meaning of Cuning


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  • sly; crafty; clever in surreptitious behaviour
  • cute (antiquated)
  • the skill of being cunning, sly, or deceitful
- The Nuttall Encyclopedia



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."
- 1811 Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue



Cun"ning (kŭn"n&ibreve;ng), a. [AS. cunnan to know, to be able. See 1st Con, Can.] 1. Knowing; skillful; 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.

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.] Barlett.

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 defense." Crabb.

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

- Webster's Unabridged Dictionary (1913)



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