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careful; cautious; prudent:
a canny reply.
astute; shrewd; knowing; sagacious:
a canny negotiator.
skilled; expert.
frugal; thrifty:
a canny housewife.

safe to deal with, invest in, or work at (usually used with a negative).
gentle; careful; steady.
snug; cozy; comfortable.
pleasing; attractive.
Archaic. having supernatural or occult powers.

in a canny manner.
Scot. carefully; cautiously.
Historical Examples

Makers of British Botany; a collection of biographies by living botanists Various
Cats W. Gordon Stables
Our Journey to the Hebrides Joseph Pennell and Elizabeth Robins Pennell
Among the Humorists and After Dinner Speakers, Vol. I Various
The Mark of Cain Carolyn Wells
Children’s Stories in American Literature, 1660-1860 Henrietta Christian Wright
The Alaskan James Oliver Curwood
The Great North Road: York to Edinburgh Charles G. Harper
Labrador Days Wilfred Thomason Grenfell
The Wolf Cub Patrick Casey

adjective -nier, -niest
shrewd, esp in business; astute or wary; knowing
(Scot & Northeast English, dialect) good or nice: used as a general term of approval
(Scot) lucky or fortunate
(Scot & Northeast English, dialect) quite; rather: a canny long while

The Canny Scot is so well known as scarcely to require description. He carries caution, cunning, and selfishness to excess. Deceitful when a purpose is to be accomplished, he is not habitually deceitful. One thing he never loses sight of–his own interest. But of his own interest he is not the most enlightened judge. [“The Natural History of Scotsmen,” in “The Argosy,” December 1865]

Related: Cannily; canniness.


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