1. Marked by or given to artful subtlety and deceptiveness.
2. Executed with or exhibiting ingenuity.
3. Delicately pleasing; pretty or cute: a cunning pet.
1. Skill in deception; guile.
2. Skill or adeptness in execution or performance; dexterity.
[Middle English, present participle of connen, to know, from Old English cunnan; see gnō- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2022 by HarperCollins Publishers. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.