Definition of canny in English:


See synonyms for canny

Translate canny into Spanish

adjectiveadjective cannier, adjective canniest

  • 1Having or showing shrewdness and good judgment, especially in money or business matters.

    ‘canny shoppers came early for a bargain’
    • ‘Scotland has a reputation for canny money management, and frequently outsmarts London's high-flyers.’
    • ‘The canny acumen of business donors leads to inevitable speculation about the tax breaks linked to such donations.’
    • ‘In the main, newspaper photographers are very canny with their money, and he was no exception.’
    • ‘The wealth brought by his marriage and his canny eye for business between them enabled him to amass a substantial fortune.’
    • ‘There is already evidence to suggest that some canny investors are hoarding such properties, which they plan to sell on in years to come.’
    • ‘The canny investor knows that equities can deliver a fortune, the trick is to buy the right stocks at the right time and wait patiently.’
    • ‘Both were meticulous artists and canny businessmen, adept at anticipating audience trends.’
    • ‘Other bonds have been caught up in the gloom in recent months, and this may create selective buying opportunities for the canny investor.’
    • ‘He is courteous, good-humoured, shrewd, canny and from a humble background in Edinburgh.’
    • ‘The canny businessman, who was renowned for his own hard work, knew the percentage deal would be a powerful incentive for employees.’
    • ‘It was a brave gamble, a bid for power, by an ambitious, clever and canny politician who saw his career facing a premature end.’
    • ‘These guys were clever, canny combatants, and they had good media advisors!’
    • ‘Tax can eat into your returns so canny investors make us of the available tax breaks.’
    • ‘On the other hand, soldiers were generally a canny lot and chose intelligently.’
    • ‘Cullen is a cautious and canny politician and it is unlikely that he was on a complete solo run with his comments.’
    • ‘The 33-year-old Scot is a canny businessmen who always has an eye out for a good investment.’
    • ‘Born performer: funny, canny and sharp, Paula Sage is a natural who made her name starring with Kevin McKidd in Afterlife.’
    • ‘Beevor seems too intelligent and canny a writer to be taken in by Sudoplatov.’
    • ‘We like to think that we are a bit more canny about what we buy.’
    • ‘But obviously his canny father has a better plan-and it has nothing to do with love, romance, happiness.’
    shrewd, astute, sharp, sharp-witted, discerning, acute, penetrating, discriminating, perceptive, perspicacious, clever, intelligent, wise, sagacious, sensible, judicious, circumspect, careful, prudent, cautious
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  • 2Northern English, Scottish Pleasant; nice.

    • ‘she's a canny lass’
    friendly, agreeable, amiable, affable, nice, genial, likeable, amicable, lovely, good-humoured, personable, congenial, hospitable, approachable, good-natured, companionable
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/ˈkanē/ /ˈkæni/


Late 16th century (originally Scots): from can (in the obsolete sense ‘know’) + -y.