canny

adjective
can·​ny | \ ˈka-nē How to pronounce canny (audio) \
cannier; canniest

Definition of canny

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : clever, shrewd a canny lawyer also : prudent canny investments

2 chiefly Scotland

a : careful, steady also : restrained
b : quiet, snug then canny, in some cozy place, they close the day— Robert Burns

canny

adverb

Definition of canny (Entry 2 of 2)

Scotland
: in a canny manner : carefully

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Other Words from canny

Adjective

cannily \ ˈka-​nə-​lē How to pronounce cannily (audio) \ adverb
canniness \ ˈka-​nē-​nəs How to pronounce canniness (audio) \ noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for canny

Synonyms: Adjective

astute, clear-eyed, clear-sighted, hard-boiled, hardheaded, heady, knowing, savvy, sharp, sharp-witted, shrewd, smart

Antonyms: Adjective

unknowing

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Examples of canny in a Sentence

Adjective

a canny card player, good at psyching out his opponents warm and canny under the woolen bedcovers, we didn't mind the chilly Scottish nights

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

While con artists can be clever, many can be foiled by knowledgeable— and equally canny—consumers. baltimoresun.com, "Interactive quiz: Could you pass the PARCC standardized tests?," 27 Aug. 2019 At the National Eisteddfod, an annual festival of Welsh culture that took place outside Llanrwst earlier this month, canny businesses sold mugs, bumper stickers and cushions emblazoned with the slogan. The Economist, "An act of vandalism sparks more talk of independence in Wales," 22 Aug. 2019 Four goals in two games demonstrate not just his goal-scoring ability, but his canny skill in finding space and spinning away from defenders. SI.com, "Norwich 3-1 Newcastle: Report, Ratings & Reaction as Pukki Hat-Trick Earns Canaries First Win," 17 Aug. 2019 Sure enough, the song was picked up by canny online influencers, as millions of people went on to don cowboy outfits and dance to the song on TikTok. Andrew R. Chow, Time, "'It Feels Like I’m Chosen to Do This.' Inside the Record-Breaking Rise of Lil Nas X," 15 Aug. 2019 And the homoerotic tension between Coriolanus and Aufidius, his canny nemesis, has a warping heat that charges and confuses both men. Ben Brantley, New York Times, "Review: An Electrifying ‘Coriolanus,’ Addicted to War," 5 Aug. 2019 Lee has a canny way of weaving together all kinds of deeply of-the-moment concerns — about gender identity and racial prejudice and economic upheaval and even Internet shaming — and then upending expectations about how those ideas might play out. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Review: Old Globe’s world-premiere work ‘What You Are’ is a deep dive into identity politics and more," 7 June 2019 Barraza's canny underplaying makes her homicidal character seem all the more chilling. Frank Scheck, The Hollywood Reporter, "'Coyote Lake': Film Review," 31 July 2019 Poland has taken a canny approach to wooing an American president known to take considerable pride in his personal brand. Laura King, latimes.com, "Poland’s visiting president faces little pressure from Trump over democratic backsliding," 12 June 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'canny.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of canny

Adjective

1596, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Adverb

1786, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for canny

Adjective

can entry 1

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Dictionary Entries near canny

cannula

cannular

cannulate

canny

canny moment

canoa

canoe

Statistics for canny

Last Updated

26 Sep 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for canny

The first known use of canny was in 1596

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More Definitions for canny

canny

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of canny

: very clever and able to make intelligent decisions

canny

adjective
can·​ny | \ ˈka-nē How to pronounce canny (audio) \
cannier; canniest

Kids Definition of canny

: clever especially in taking advantage of opportunities : shrewd a canny decision canny shoppers

Other Words from canny

cannily \ ˈka-​nə-​lē \ adverb

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More from Merriam-Webster on canny

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with canny

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for canny

Spanish Central: Translation of canny

Nglish: Translation of canny for Spanish Speakers

Comments on canny

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