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

Beyond that, the acquisition now looks particularly canny for one big reason: the Saks building on Fifth Avenue. Joshua Levine, WSJ, "Saks Doubles Down on Department Stores With New Restaurant in New York City," 15 Jan. 2019 So too with Alexander’s own actions and decisions, some wise and canny, others reckless and cruel. James Romm, WSJ, "‘Soldier, Priest, and God’ Review: The Emperor Divine," 13 Dec. 2018 But Haley’s policy approach was particularly canny. Zack Beauchamp, Vox, "How Nikki Haley played the White House game — and won," 9 Oct. 2018 Cheeky, importunate and canny, Ms. Jordan’s voice is one of the great standard-bearing instruments of midcentury jazz. New York Times, "Pop, Rock and Jazz in NYC This Week," 8 Feb. 2018 However, the canny politician did hold off on announcing his position until Republicans had already locked down the 50 votes Kavanaugh needed. Andrew Prokop, Vox, "Joe Manchin reelected in West Virginia: the most conservative Senate Democrat survives," 7 Nov. 2018 But Bezos’ moral awakening is also a canny political move. Makena Kelly, The Verge, "Amazon’s triumphant pay raise is also a political play," 3 Oct. 2018 For years, that has been a useful solution to the thorny problem of online identity – and a canny strategy for Facebook to lock users in to its broader ecosystem. David Z. Morris, Fortune, "How to Delete Your Facebook Account – And Why It’s So Hard to Do," 24 Mar. 2018 But in a recent piece on women and true crime, Cammila Collar finds canny parallels between the recurrent subjects of true crime (love-gone-wrong, family conflict, domestic violence) and the hard numbers on gender and violence. Megan Abbott, latimes.com, "Why do we — women in particular — love true crime books?," 14 June 2018

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

circa 1796, 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

14 Feb 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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