From King Dictionary of Contemporary Englishcunningcun‧ning1 /ˈkʌnɪŋ/ ●●○ adjective 1 INTELLIGENTsomeone who is cunning is clever and good at deceiving people in order to get what they want SYN crafty a cunning opponentsee thesaurus at intelligent2 UNFAIRbehaviour or actions that are cunning are clever but dishonest and unfair, and are used to get what you want a cunning plan3 UNUSUALa cunning object or piece of equipment is clever and unusual a cunning little device for keeping out draughts4 BEAUTIFUL/GOOD-LOOKING American English old-fashioned attractive a cunning little dresscunningly adverb
Examples from the Corpus
cunningThe book talks, and is very cunning.But the wicked creature was very cunning, and she finally thought of a trick that would give her what she wanted.The coach quickly came up with a cunning counterattack.Hawkeye was very cunning - he always waited until his enemy was alone and unarmed before making his attack.She's a cunning little devil! She left for school as usual, and then went into town instead with her friends.a cunning marketing ploya cunning model of the worldIt was only the latest chapter in the book on the dangerous, amoral, but cunning place called Arkansas.And it seems that nothing, not even one of Baldrick's cunning plans, can save them.There was a small black sofa with cunning red and blue cushions on it.His leadership style was to maintain power through a combination of force and cunning strategy.She brought about the death of Pelias by a cunning trick.They use all kinds of cunning tricks to make people give them money.The brightest are wasted: the cunning triumph: the robber barons are back.Diane was a cold and cunning woman who preyed upon lonely teenagers.
cunningcunning2 noun [uncountable] INTELLIGENTthe ability to achieve what you want by deceiving people in a clever way the tiger’s ferocity and cunning She would use low cunning (=unpleasant dishonest methods) to win people’s sympathy.
Examples from the Corpus
cunningAnd a cunning of its own.Perhaps one could justify riches as the reward for the skill, diligence, foresight and cunning of the original creator.And there's his diabolical cunning about the newspapers and radio and so on.This process shows great cunning on the part of Nature, also a good deal of cleverness on the part of George.Time and again the new Phoenix King proved his cunning as a general.Organizing a political party, even a small and stupid one, must take at least a degree of native cunning.The few people that escaped the crazed gunman did so by quick cunning, courage, and luck.The archetypal survivor is the trickster, and his strategy is wily cunning.
Origin cunning1 (1200-1300) Present participle of cun to know, an early form of can; CAN1