Synonyms & Antonyms of cunning

(Entry 1 of 2)

2 skillful with the hands
  • only the most cunning cabinetmaker could have crafted such a beautifully proportioned chest of drawers

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Synonyms & Antonyms of cunning (Entry 2 of 2)

1 skill in achieving one's ends through indirect, subtle, or underhanded means
  • the cunning with which Tom Sawyer was able to get others to whitewash the fence for him

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2 subtle or imaginative ability in inventing, devising, or executing something
  • the unmatched cunning of the scout who led them safely through the trackless wilderness

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clever, adroit, cunning, ingenious mean having or showing practical wit or skill in contriving. clever stresses physical or mental quickness, deftness, or great aptitude. a person clever with horses adroit often implies a skillful use of expedients to achieve one's purpose in spite of difficulties. an adroit negotiator cunning implies great skill in constructing or creating. a filmmaker cunning in his use of special effects ingenious suggests the power of inventing or discovering a new way of accomplishing something. an ingenious software engineer


art, skill, cunning, artifice, craft mean the faculty of executing well what one has devised. art implies a personal, unanalyzable creative power. the art of choosing the right word skill stresses technical knowledge and proficiency. the skill of a glassblower cunning suggests ingenuity and subtlety in devising, inventing, or executing. a mystery plotted with great cunning artifice suggests technical skill especially in imitating things in nature. believed realism in film could be achieved only by artifice craft may imply expertness in workmanship. the craft of a master goldsmith

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Time Traveler for cunning

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The first known use of cunning was in the 14th century

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Cite this Entry

“Cunning.” The Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 22 January 2020.

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More from Merriam-Webster on cunning

Dictionary: Definition of cunning

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with cunning

Spanish Central: Translation of cunning

Nglish: Translation of cunning for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of cunning for Arabic Speakers

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