canny

adjective
can·ny | \ˈka-nē \
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-nᵊl-ē \ adverb
canniness \ˈka-nē-nəs \ noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for canny

Synonyms: Adjective

astute, clear-eyed, clear-sighted, hard-boiled, hardheaded, 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

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 Trump, of course, was the canny marketer, while Clinton’s team was the unengaging competitor. Alexis C. Madrigal, The Atlantic, "Why Donald Trump Was the 'Perfect Candidate' for Facebook," 26 Feb. 2018 And trusting in America’s canny de-escalation tactics at this point seems naïve. Heather Souvaine Horn, The New Republic, "The Problem With “Cold War” Comparisons," 17 Apr. 2018 But such secrecy, said Dan Cryan, executive director of research at IHS Markit, a media analysis firm, is the company’s prerogative — perhaps even a canny way to keep the upper hand in negotiations with partners. Daniel Arkin /, NBC News, "Apple's script for conquering Hollywood is a mystery so far," 13 July 2018 Convincing African countries to do something similar would require cannier diplomacy than the EU can muster, combining trade, migration, visa and development tools. The Economist, "Europe is moving towards the tough immigration policies of Sebastian Kurz," 5 July 2018 Cuomo, like most of his predecessors, not to mention de Blasio, is too canny to want to be the face of the M.T.A. Byford, on the other hand, is happy to be out front, fully identified with the subways and buses and fully accountable. William Finnegan, The New Yorker, "Can Andy Byford Save the Subways?," 2 July 2018 In some ways, Mr. Abloh was a canny choice as collaborator. Jacob Gallagher, WSJ, "IKEA’s New Collection Could Sell out in Seconds—Here’s Why," 4 May 2018 This week was all about automakers, tech goliaths, states, and cities making canny moves to position themselves to welcome the next few months, years, and decades. Aarian Marshall, WIRED, "This Week in the Future of Cars: Getting Down and Dirty," 24 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

29 Aug 2018

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 \
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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Comments on canny

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