An example of something that would be described as sly is a devious secret plot to win an award.
adjectivesli′er or sly′er, sli′est or sly′est
- Dial. skillful or clever
- skillful at trickery or deceit; crafty; wily
- showing a secretive, crafty, or wily nature; cunningly underhanded
- mischievous in a playful way; roguish
Origin of slyMiddle English sley from Old Norse slœgr, clever, cunning, literally , able to strike from base of sl? and Old English slean, to strike: see slay
on the sly
adjectivesli·er, sli·est, also sly·er sly·est
- Clever or cunning, especially in the practice of deceit.
- Stealthy or surreptitious: took a sly look at the letter on the table.
- Playfully mischievous: a sly laugh.
Origin of slyMiddle English sleigh from Old Norse slœgr
(comparative slier or slyer, superlative sliest or slyest)
From Middle English sly, sley, from Old Norse slÇ£gr, slÅ“gr (“sly, cunning", literally “capable of hitting or striking"), from Proto-Germanic *slÅgiz (“lively, agile, cunning, sly, striking"), from Proto-Indo-European *slak- (“to hit, throw"). Cognate with Icelandic slÃ¦gur (“crafty, sly"), Norwegian Nynorsk slÃ¸g (“sly"), German schlau (“clever, crafty"). Related to sleight, slay.