Definitions

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun The quality of being sly, or conduct that is sly, in any sense; craftiness; arch or artful wiliness; cunning, especially satirical or playful cunning; archness; the use of wiles or stratagems, or the quality inclining one to use them.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun The quality or state of being sly.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun uncountable The state or quality of being being sly.
  • noun countable The result or product of being sly.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • noun shrewdness as demonstrated by being skilled in deception

Etymologies

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From sly +‎ -ness

Examples

  • "But when their slyness is known their case is mortal," said Longarine.

    The Heptameron of Margaret, Queen of Navarre

  • At such times there is no trace of hatred or spite in his eyes, but a great deal of humour, and that peculiar fox-like slyness which is only to be noticed in very observant people.

    The Wife

  • And -- most important -- the emotion (a kind of slyness) that came to him from the "noise" in the being's brain.

    The Battle of Forever

  • She is the pretty, good-natured, well-principled, and rather well-educated menial, whose prudence comes to the aid of her principles, whose pride does not interfere with either, and who has a certain -- it is hardly unfair to call it -- slyness which is of the sex rather than of the individual.

    The English Novel

  • At such times there is no trace of hatred or spite in his eyes, but a great deal of humour, and that peculiar fox-like slyness which is only to be noticed in very observant people.

    The Wife, and other stories

  • The quiet ways of the Friends, and their habits of self-restraint developed in them a kind of slyness that peculiarly fitted them, sharpened as it was by a love of money, to make a successful and profitable bargain.

    John and Mary; or, The Fugitive Slaves, a Tale of South-Eastern Pennsylvania

  • I slowly watched the slyness of daylight creep into the curtains before I exhausted myself to sleep and wondered why I should be living when my sister was gone.

    History of a Suicide

  • With her capacity for slyness and secrecy – just as she had when she wrote about giving birth to Sharon, keeping her contractions secret because she didn't want to have to go into hospital – she hid her illness.

    Lorna Sage, my mum

  • Sly and the Family Stone: You've got the slyness of "Sly" and the family-ness of "Family," but together with a straight-on drug reference.

    David Weinberger: Rating 1960s Bands' Names

  • One of the Polish students was Klara, about 24, rather small, with the classic Slavic look: clear skin, good cheekbones, a pouty mouth, and a slyness in her blue eyes.

    Voices of Love

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