adjective, can·ni·er, can·ni·est.
- 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.
adverb Also can·ni·ly.
Examples from the Web for canniness
He was, in a way, a Paul Revere spreading intelligence, and with Scotch canniness made a good bargain for himself.The Alaskan|James Oliver Curwood
The verses rang with New England canniness, and the familiar dialect acquired a dignity never before acknowledged.Children's Stories in American Literature, 1660-1860|Henrietta Christian Wright
People looked askance upon them as Scots, while innkeepers hated them for their poverty and their canniness.The Great North Road: York to Edinburgh|Charles G. Harper
With the canniness of her new-found love, Avice approached the subject in a roundabout way.The Mark of Cain|Carolyn Wells
Andrew Carnegie tells a good story illustrating the canniness of the Scot.
British Dictionary definitions for canniness
adjective -nier or -niest
Word Origin for canny
Word Origin and History for canniness
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.