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Webster's Dictionary 1828 - Online Edition

Webster's Dictionary 1828

Americal Dictionary of the English Language

American Dictionary
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Cunning

CUNNING, adjective [G. See Can.]

1. Knowing; skillful; experienced; well-instructed. It is applied to all kinds of knowledge, but generally and appropriately, to the skill and dexterity of artificers, or the knowledge acquired by experience.

Esau was a cunning hunter. Genesis 23:1.

I will take away the cunning artificer. Isaiah 3:3.

A cunning workman. Exodus 38:23.

2. Wrought with skill; curious; ingenious.

With cherubs of cunning work shalt thou make them. Exodus 26:1.

[The foregoing senses occur frequently in our version of the scriptures, but are nearly or quite obsolete.]

3. Artful; shrewd; sly; crafty; astute; designing; as a cunning fellow.

They are resolved to be cunning; let others run the hazard of being sincere.

In this sense, the purpose or final end of the person may not be illaudalbe; but cunning implies the use of artifice to accomplish the purpose, rather than open, candid, or direct means. Hence,

4. Deceitful; trickish; employing stratagems for a bad purpose.

5. Assumed with subtilty; artful.

Accounting his integrity to be but a cunning face of falsehood.

CUNNING, noun

1. Knowledge; art; skill; dexterity.

Let my right hand forget her cunning Psalms 137:5.

2. Art; artifice; artfulness; craft; shrewdness; the faculty or act of using stratagem to accomplish a purpose. Hence in a bad sense, deceitfulness or deceit; fraudulent skill or dexterity.

Discourage cunning in a child; cunning is the ape of wisdom.