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- cunning:  Cunning did not always have its present-day negative connotations. At first it was a term of approval, meaning ‘learned’. It is connected in some way to the verb can, which originally meant ‘know’, although it is not altogether clear whether it is a direct use of the present participle of the English verb, or whether it was borrowed from the related Old Norse kunnandi, present participle of kunna ‘know’. Either way, it is a parallel formation to canny . The sense ‘skilfully deceitful’ developed towards the end of the 16th century.
- cunning (adj.)
- early 14c., "learned, skillful," present participle of cunnen "to know" (see can (v.1)). Sense of "skillfully deceitful" is probably late 14c. As a noun from c. 1300. Related: Cunningly.
- 1. His cunning and guile were not attributes I would ever underestimate.
- 2. Intelligence and cunning emanated from him.
- 3. Enrico was too good, an old fox, cunning.
- 4. He was as cunning as a fox.
- 5. A spy used cunning means to find out secrets.
[ cunning 造句 ]