Definition of cunning adjective from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary



    BrE BrE//ˈkʌnɪŋ//
    ; NAmE NAmE//ˈkʌnɪŋ//
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  1. 1(disapproving) able to get what you want in a clever way, especially by tricking or cheating somebody synonym crafty, wily a cunning liar He was as cunning as a fox. That cunning old rogue is up to something, I'm sure.
  2. 2clever and skilful synonym ingenious It was a cunning piece of detective work. See related entries: Clever
  3. Word OriginMiddle English: perhaps from Old Norse kunnandi ‘knowledge’, from kunna ‘know’ (related to can), or perhaps from Middle English cunne, an obsolete variant of can. The original sense was ‘(possessing) great academic knowledge or skill’ and had no implication of deceit; the sense ‘deceitfulness’ dates from late Middle English.
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: cunning

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