canny

1 of 2

adjective

can·​ny ˈka-nē How to pronounce canny (audio)
cannier; canniest
1
: clever, shrewd
a canny lawyer
also : prudent
canny investments
2
chiefly Scotland
a
b
: quiet, snug
then canny, in some cozy place, they close the dayRobert Burns
cannily adverb
canniness noun

canny

2 of 2

adverb

Scotland
: in a canny manner : carefully

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
Today, Tiffany’s canny promotion of the summer of 1858 is long forgotten. Robert Klara, Smithsonian Magazine, 15 Feb. 2024 But canny management and cooperative financial markets have helped increase plan funding, too. Jeff Sommer, New York Times, 9 Feb. 2024 Fine artist or canny businessman? Known as the Pope of Pop, Warhol (1928-1987) is arguably the most important artist of the second half of the 20th century. Victoria Dalkey, Sacramento Bee, 31 Jan. 2024 Krumholz and Iwasaki’s sincere, and canny, approach to working with a highly engaged patient population is to honor everyone’s experience, no matter how controversial. Rachael Bedard, The New Yorker, 23 Jan. 2024 At the same time, Soderbergh has continued to make his own canny counterarguments, usually in the form of movies. Justin Chang, Los Angeles Times, 21 Jan. 2024 In addition to regularly doing interviews, the mayor has also been canny about forging alliances. Stephen Humphries, The Christian Science Monitor, 20 Dec. 2023 Can it be used to canny effect in U.S. foreign policy by the commander in chief? Daniel Foster, National Review, 30 Nov. 2023 Their mother, Alma Lola Lawless Hines, became a canny manager of the family act. Howard Blume, Los Angeles Times, 2 Jan. 2024 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'canny.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

Adjective

originally Scots & regional northern English, going back to early Scots, "free from risk, sagacious, prudent, cautious," probably from can "ability" (noun derivative of can can entry 1) + -y -y entry 1

First Known Use

Adjective

1596, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Adverb

1786, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of canny was in 1596

Dictionary Entries Near canny

Cite this Entry

“Canny.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/canny. Accessed 2 Mar. 2024.

Kids Definition

canny

adjective
can·​ny
ˈkan-ē
cannier; canniest
: watchful of one's own interest
cannily
ˈkan-ᵊl-ē
adverb
canniness
ˈkan-ē-nəs
noun

More from Merriam-Webster on canny

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