- skill employed in a shrewd or sly manner, as in deceiving; craftiness; guile.
- adeptness in performance; dexterity: The weaver's hand lost its cunning.
- showing or made with ingenuity.
- artfully subtle or shrewd; crafty; sly.
- Informal. charmingly cute or appealing: a cunning little baby.
- Archaic. skillful; expert.
- Obsolete. present participle of can1.
Origin of cunning
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for cunningly
Raptly, they drink in the cunningly arranged open floor plan.Beyond Stainless
October 19, 2012
But so cunningly contrived a mizmaze was never seen in the world, before nor since.Tanglewood Tales
I must tell you, to keep your writings concealed so cunningly.Clarissa, Volume 2 (of 9)
She was drawing at a table, cunningly placed at right angles to the window.
A dream of a dress that would be, with all the shades of Madame Abel cunningly blended.
So have we cunningly hid the tragedy of limitation and inner death we cannot avert.Essays, Second Series
Ralph Waldo Emerson
- crafty and shrewd, esp in deception; slycunning as a fox
- made with or showing skill or cleverness; ingenious
- craftiness, esp in deceiving; slyness
- cleverness, skill, or ingenuity
Word Origin and History for cunningly
early 14c., "learned, skillful," present participle of cunnen "to know" (see can (v.1)). Sense of "skillfully deceitful" is probably late 14c. As a noun from c.1300. Related: Cunningly.