adjective (slier or slyer; sliest or slyest) Etymology: Middle English sleighe, sli, from Old Norse slœgr; akin to Old English slēan to strike — more at slay Date: 13th century 1. chiefly dialect a. wise in practical affairs b. displaying cleverness ; ingenious 2. a. clever in concealing one's aims or ends ; furtive <
the sly fox
b. lacking in straightforwardness and candor ; dissembling <
a sly scheme
3. lightly mischievous ; roguish <
a sly jest
a sly smile
slyly also slily adverbslyness noun Synonyms: sly, cunning, crafty, wily, tricky, foxy, artful, slick mean attaining or seeking to attain one's ends by guileful or devious means. sly implies furtiveness, lack of candor, and skill in concealing one's aims and methods <
a sly corporate raider
. cunning suggests the inventive use of sometimes limited intelligence in overreaching or circumventing <
the cunning fox avoided the trap
. crafty implies cleverness and subtlety of method <
a crafty lefthander
. wily implies skill and deception in maneuvering <
the wily fugitive escaped the posse
. tricky is more likely to suggest shiftiness and unreliability than skill in deception and maneuvering <
a tricky political operative
. foxy implies a shrewd and wary craftiness usually involving devious dealing <
a foxy publicity man planting stories
. artful implies indirectness in dealing and often connotes sophistication or cleverness <
elicited the information by artful questioning
. slick emphasizes smoothness and guile <
slick operators selling time-sharing

New Collegiate Dictionary. 2001.


Look at other dictionaries:

  • 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.… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • 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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