Meaning of CUNNING in English
I. cun ‧ ning 1 /ˈkʌnɪŋ/ BrE AmE adjective
[ Date: 1200-1300 ; Origin: Present participle of cun 'to know' , an early form of can ; ⇨ ↑ can 1 ]
1 . someone who is cunning is clever and good at deceiving people in order to get what they want SYN crafty :
a cunning opponent
2 . behaviour or actions that are cunning are clever but dishonest and unfair, and are used to get what you want:
a cunning plan
3 . a cunning object or piece of equipment is clever and unusual:
a cunning little device for keeping out draughts
4 . American English old-fashioned attractive:
a cunning little dress
• • •
▪ intelligent having a high level of mental ability, and good at thinking clearly and understanding ideas:
The top universities aim to select the most intelligent students.
▪ clever especially British English , smart especially American English intelligent, so that you can think and learn quickly and find ways to solve problems:
That was very clever of you. How did you do that?
I wasn’t smart enough to be a lawyer.
▪ bright intelligent – used especially about children and young people:
He’s a very bright kid.
the brightest student in the class
▪ brilliant extremely intelligent and good at the work you do:
a brilliant scientist
▪ gifted a gifted child is much more intelligent than most other children:
a special school for gifted children
▪ wise able to make good decisions and give sensible advice, especially because you have a lot of experience:
a wise old man
▪ cunning/crafty good at using your intelligence to get what you want, often by making secret plans or tricking people:
She was cunning enough to keep this latest piece of information secret.
He’s a crafty old devil!
▪ brainy informal intelligent and good at studying:
My sister is the brainy one in our family.
II. cunning 2 BrE AmE noun [uncountable]
the 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.
Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English. Longman - Словарь современного английского языка. 2012