- 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 cannily
Perhaps you like your Neil Patrick Harris belting in high heels on Broadway, or cannily emceeing an awards show?Choose Your Own Neil Patrick Harris: The Star on ‘Doogie,’ ‘Gone Girl,’ Gay Sex and More
October 10, 2014
Willimon cannily structures the episodes of House of Cards in a more naturalistic fashion than traditional television.‘House of Cards’: Should You Binge-Watch Netflix’s Political Drama?
February 5, 2013
The doctor was called, and cannily solved the problem with a buttered shoe-horn.Dear Enemy
Ive forgotten most of it, Cletus said, cannily dodging the trap.Satan and the Comrades
On one occasion only he cannily indemnified his narrative for this drawback.The Cloister and the Hearth
To one who knows that neighbourhood the picture is cannily vivid.Shandygaff
"Some of 'em my people, too, Mas' John," he cannily observed.Lady Baltimore
- 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 cannily
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.