- cunning or wily: sly as a fox.
- stealthy, insidious, or secret.
- playfully artful, mischievous, or roguish: sly humor.
- on the sly, secretly; furtively: a tryst on the sly.
Origin of sly
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for slyest
The coyote, or prairie-wolf, is the slyest animal that walks on four legs.The Boy Settlers
It's the slyest trick the old fox has ever tried to play on us.A Man of the People
The mountain lion is one of the slyest and most elusive animals in the woods.Your National Parks
Enos A. Mills
So they learned lots—and the slyest scoundrels learned the most.It Is Never Too Late to Mend
When buckled down to his work he became the slyest and cleverest of diplomats.Parisians in the Country
Honore de Balzac
- crafty; artfula sly dodge
- insidious; furtivea sly manner
- playfully mischievous; roguishsly humour
- on the sly in a secretive manner
Word Origin and History for slyest
c.1200, "skillful, clever, dexterous," from Old Norse sloegr "cunning, crafty, sly," from Proto-Germanic *slogis (cf. Low German slu "cunning, sly," German schlau), probably from base *slak- "to strike, hit" (see slay (v.)), with an original notion of "able to hit." Cf. German verschlagen "cunning, crafty, sly," schlagfertig "quick-witted," literally "strike-ready," from schlagen "to strike." A non-pejorative use of the word lingered in northern English dialect until 20c. On the sly "in secret" is recorded from 1812. Sly-boots "a seeming Silly, but subtil Fellow" is in the 1700 "Dictionary of the Canting Crew."
Idioms and Phrases with slyest
see on the sly.