(comparative more cunning, superlative most cunning)
- Sly; crafty; clever in surreptitious behaviour.
- Bible, Exodus xxxviii. 23
- a cunning workman
- Tis beauty truly blent, whose red and white / Nature's own sweet and cunning hand laid on.
- (US, colloquial, rare) Cute, appealing.
- a cunning little boy
From Middle English cunning, kunning, konnyng, alteration of earlier Middle English cunninde, kunnende, cunnand, from Old English cunnende, present participle of cunnan (“to know how to, be able to”), equivalent to con + -ing. Cognate with Scots cunnand (“cunning”), German dialectal könnend (“cunning”), Icelandic kunnandi (“cunning”). More at con, can.
From Middle English cunning, kunnyng, partially from Old English *cunning (verbal noun), from cunnan (“to know how to, be able to”); partially from Old English cunnung (“knowledge, trial, probation, experience, contact, carnal knowledge”), from cunnian (“to search into, try, test, seek for, explore, investigate, experience, have experience of, to make trial of, know”), equivalent to con + -ing.