- careful; cautious; prudent: a canny reply.
- astute; shrewd; knowing; sagacious: a canny negotiator.
- skilled; expert.
- frugal; thrifty: a canny housewife.
- safe to deal with, invest in, or work at (usually used with a negative).
- gentle; careful; steady.
- snug; cozy; comfortable.
- pleasing; attractive.
- Archaic.having supernatural or occult powers.
- in a canny manner.
- Scot. carefully; cautiously.
Origin of canny
Examples from the Web for canny
Ever canny if uninspiring, John Boehner admitted as much in his recent remarks.What Republicans Need Right Now Is a Good Internal Fight
November 6, 2014
But he was a canny political operator, far less ideological and more coldly pragmatic than proponents liked to admit.From The Square Deal to The New Deal: The Overlapping Political Identities of TR and FDR
September 9, 2014
A wavering, but canny Wehrmacht General Dietrich von Choltitz finally surrendered it on August 25.Who Liberated Paris in August 1944?
August 24, 2014
That is admirable, and Preserve is clever, or at least canny.Blake Lively Gets Her GOOP On
July 23, 2014
All of it is so canny we can only wonder why no one had said these things before.Geoff Dyer at Sea: Unmoored but on Target
Melissa Holbrook Pierson
May 21, 2014
He said it was "Kahore pai;" or, as a Scotsman would put it, "no canny."Brighter Britain! (Volume 1 of 2)
William Delisle Hay
So reasoned the canny Scot, but he held his tongue to his Lilias.Two Penniless Princesses
Charlotte M. Yonge
And old Angus wagged his head and said, "Canny lass, the widdy!"They of the High Trails
Turning, I found the canny swain had followed me on an investigating tour.Lords of the North
A. C. Laut
It might be a good thing, said the canny Scot, to back him up and reap the benefit.Under Fire
- shrewd, esp in business; astute or wary; knowing
- Scot and Northeast English dialect good or nice: used as a general term of approval
- Scot lucky or fortunate
- Scot and Northeast English dialect quite; rathera canny long while
Word Origin and History for canny
1630s, Scottish and northern English formation from can (v.1) in its sense of "know how to," + -y (2). "Knowing," hence, "careful." A doublet of cunning that flowed into distinct senses. Often used superciliously of Scots by their southern neighbors (and their American cousins).
The Canny Scot is so well known as scarcely to require description. He carries caution, cunning, and selfishness to excess. Deceitful when a purpose is to be accomplished, he is not habitually deceitful. One thing he never loses sight of--his own interest. But of his own interest he is not the most enlightened judge. ["The Natural History of Scotsmen," in "The Argosy," December 1865]
Related: Cannily; canniness.