Sly Sly, a. [Compar. {Slier}or {Slyer}; superl. {Sliest} or {Slyest}.] [OE. sli, slegh, sleih, Icel. sl?gr, for sl?gr; akin to Sw. slug, Dan. slu, LG. slou, G. schlau; probably to E. slay, v.t.; cf. G. verschlagen sly. See {Slay}, v. t., and cf. {Sleight}.] 1. Dexterous in performing an action, so as to escape notice; nimble; skillful; cautious; shrewd; knowing; -- in a good sense. [1913 Webster]

Be ye sly as serpents, and simple as doves. --Wyclif (Matt. x. 16). [1913 Webster]

Whom graver age And long experience hath made wise and sly. --Fairfax. [1913 Webster]

2. Artfully cunning; secretly mischievous; wily. [1913 Webster]

For my sly wiles and subtle craftiness, The litle of the kingdom I possess. --Spenser. [1913 Webster]

3. Done with, and marked by, artful and dexterous secrecy; subtle; as, a sly trick. [1913 Webster]

Envy works in a sly and imperceptible manner. --I. Watts. [1913 Webster]

4. Light or delicate; slight; thin. [Obs.] [1913 Webster]

{By the sly}, or {On the sly}, in a sly or secret manner. [Colloq.] ``Gazed on Hetty's charms by the sly.'' --G. Eliot.

{Sly goose} (Zo["o]l.), the common sheldrake; -- so named from its craftiness. [1913 Webster]

Syn: Cunning; crafty; subtile; wily. See {Cunning}. [1913 Webster]

The Collaborative International Dictionary of English. 2000.


Look at other dictionaries:

  • Sly — is an adjective, meaning one of the following:#Clever in practical matters. #Hiding ones true intentions or goals.Its synonyms are cunning and roguish .Sly is also a proper masculine name, short for Sylvester. It is the name of several famous… …   Wikipedia

  • sly — sly, cunning, crafty, tricky, foxy, insidious, wily, guileful, artful are comparable when they mean having or showing a disposition to attain one s ends by devious or indirect means. Sly implies a lack of candor which shows itself in… …   New Dictionary of Synonyms

  • sly — [ slaı ] adjective 1. ) clever at tricking people or at secretly doing unfair or dishonest things 2. ) a sly smile, look, or remark shows that the person doing it knows something that other people do not know: He made a sly reference to the… …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

  • sly — [slaı] adj [Date: 1200 1300; : Old Norse; Origin: slœgr] 1.) someone who is sly cleverly deceives people in order to get what they want = ↑cunning 2.) sly smile/glance/wink etc a smile, look etc that shows you know something secret ▪ He leaned… …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • sly — c.1200, from O.N. sloegr cunning, crafty, sly, from P.Gmc. *slogis (Cf. Low Ger. slu cunning, sly ), probably from base *slog hit (see SLAY (Cf. slay)), with an original notion of able to hit. Cf. Ger. verschlagen cunning, crafty, sly,… …   Etymology dictionary

  • sly — [slī] adj. slier or slyer, sliest or slyest [ME sley < ON slœgr, clever, cunning, lit., able to strike < base of slā & OE slean, to strike: see SLAY] 1. Dial. skillful or clever 2. skillful at trickery or deceit; crafty; wily 3. showing a… …   English World dictionary

  • SLY — est un groupe de heavy metal japonais créé en 1994, formé d ex membres de groupe populaires, notamment le chanteur Minoru Niihara et le batteur Munetaka Higuchi, alors ex membres du groupe Loudness. Après la séparation de SLY en 1998, ils… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • sly — ► ADJECTIVE (slyer, slyest) 1) having a cunning and deceitful nature. 2) (of a remark, glance, or expression) insinuating. 3) (of an action) surreptitious. ● on the sly Cf. ↑on the sly …   English terms dictionary

  • Sly — Sly, adv. Slyly. [Obs. or Poetic] Spenser. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Sly — m, f English (mainly U.S.): modern name. The reasons for its adoption as a given name are not clear. In the case of the American actor Sylvester Stallone, it is used as a contracted pet form of his given name. The fact that it coincides in form… …   First names dictionary

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