- 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 cunningness
At any rate we had no other man to come near him in any cunningness.The Maid of Sker
Richard Doddridge Blackmore
It caused about as much excitement as had the failure of the bank because of its cunningness.The Homesteader
Field went away rather impressed by the cunningness of the dodge.The Slave of Silence
Fred M. White
Masters may be more cunning than slaves, but cunningness is not an evidence of a high order of intellectual power.Communism and Christianism
William Montgomery Brown
For seeing the cunningness of the new people, they partly feared and partly despised them.Old English Chronicles
- 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 cunningness
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.