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Cunning, adj. 1) knowing, well instructed: “to make the c. hounds mistake their smell,” Ven. 686. “this learned constable is too c. to be understood,” Ado V, 1, 234. to c. men (as schoolmasters) “I will be very kind,” Shr. I, 1, 97. “to get her c. schoolmasters,” Shr. I, 1, 97 “c. in music and the mathematics,” II, 56. “c. in Greek,” II, 56 “whose red and white nature's own sweet and c. hand laid on,” Tw. I, 5, 258. “so c. in fence,” III, 4, 312. “wherein c. but in craft?” H4A II, 4, 503. “a c. man did calculate my birth,” H6B IV, 1, 34. “c. cooks,” Rom. IV, 2, 2. “this bodiless creation ecstasy is very c. in,” Hml. III, 4, 139.
2) powerful: “Margery Jourdain, the c. witch,” H6B I, 2, 75. “your silence, c. in dumbness, from my weakness draws my very soul of counsel,” Troil. III, 2, 140.
3) skilful: “I will so plead that you shall say my c. drift excels,” Gentl. IV, 2, 83. “be c. in the working this,” Ado II, 2, 53. “to sell a bargain well is as c. as fast and loose,” LLL III, 103. “so c. and so young is wonderful,” R3 III, 1, 135.
4) made or done or devised with skill, artful: “like a c. instrument cased up,” R2 I, 3, 163. “thou --est pattern of excelling nature,” Oth. V, 2, 11 (Qq “cunning). what c. match have you made with this jest of the drawer,” H4A II, 4, 101. “I'll find some c. practice,” Tit. V, 2, 77. “if there be any c. cruelty that can torment him,” Oth. V, 2, 333.
5) crafty: “which c. love did wittily prevent,” Ven. 471. “O c. love, with tears thou keepest me blind,” Sonn. 148, 13. “the c. manner of our flight,” Gentl. II, 4, 180. “O c. enemy,” Meas. II, 2, 180. III, 1, 95. “whatsoever c. fiend it was,” H5 II, 2, 111. “I am too courtly and thou art too c.” Troil. III, 1, 30. H8 I, 1, 168. Oth. I, 3, 102.
6) dexterous and trickish in dissembling: “to cloak offences with a c. brow,” Lucr. 749. “what authority and show of truth can c. sin cover itself withal,” Ado IV, 1, 37. “the seeming truth which c. times put on to entrap the wisest,” Merch. III, 2, 100. “trust not those c. waters of his eyes,” John IV, 3, 107. “most c. in my patience,” Oth. IV, 1, 91. “that c. whore of Venice,” IV, 2, 89. “she is c. past man's thought,” Ant. I, 2, 150.
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