Date: 1200-1300
Origin: Present participle of cun 'to know', an early form of can; CAN1


1 adjective
1 someone who is cunning is clever and good at deceiving people in order to get what they want [= crafty]:
a cunning opponent
2 behaviour or actions that are cunning are clever but dishonest and unfair, and are used to get what you want:
a cunning plan
3 a cunning object or piece of equipment is clever and unusual:
a cunning little device for keeping out draughts
4 American English old-fashioned attractive:
a cunning little dress
cunningly adverb
WORD FOCUS: intelligent WORD FOCUS: intelligent
similar words: clever especially BrE/smart especially AmE good at learning or understanding things quickly
intelligent - used especially about young people
a brilliant scientist, writer, student, historian etc is extremely intelligent and does very good work
informal very intelligent and good at studying
a gifted child is extremely intelligent
a wise person has a lot of experience and knowledge, and can give good advice
/crafty good at using your intelligence to trick people

intelligent people: genius someone who is extremely intelligent and has great ideas
someone who is well-educated and interested in art, science, or literature at a high level
a country's intellectuals, considered as a single group

See also

Dictionary results for "cunning"
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