Also found in: Thesaurus.
Related to canniness: uncanny


adj. can·ni·er, can·ni·est
1. Careful and shrewd, especially where one's own interests are concerned.
2. Cautious in spending money; frugal.
3. Scots
a. Steady, restrained, and gentle.
b. Snug and quiet.

[From can.]

can′ni·ly adv.
can′ni·ness n.
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
References in classic literature ?
But his superstition united with his canniness played the Count's game for him, and he ran with his favoring wind through fogs and all till he brought up blindfold at Galatz.
There were obviously a couple of superstars - Tammy Abraham, has returned to Chelsea - but Dean Smith's canniness in picking up mid-range purchases will determine whether they finish 17th or 18th.
If there's canniness to this, it's that Garmin sees the size of these new boxes as a critical market driver.
The truth is that Juve had been overrun for long periods but had the canniness to disrupt Tottenham early in the second half and the ruthlessness to take the two opportunities that suddenly, unexpectedly, fell their way.
As with all else, the radical Left is digging in its heels to protect one of its most important constituencies, but Trump has so far demonstrated a considerable canniness and will that have enabled him to drag his fellow Republicans along and to cow the opposition.
His deflected effort brought the all-important opener, and his canniness won the penalty which made the last quarter of an hour comfortable.
This allows the uncanny, unsettling precisely because we cannot account for the dread it gives rise to, to be managed by a canniness that, unlike the uncanny, is a property not of a space or a situation but a person, the hero or heroine of the narrative.
Foderaromay, A Climb Marked by Confidence and Canniness, N.Y.
There is another swathe of material which is rather more urbane, visually hybridizing the technologies in play to relay a sense of dynamism and contextual canniness. Thus one of the insecticide ads combines aerosol and army tank to present the war on mosquitoes as a military campaign; another hypes petrol for motorbikes having the same power as aeroplane fuel, with an oil can literally taking wing.
Kate would be far better to equip her daughter with a confidence and canniness to survive it.
But if he does win enough second preferences to hand him the crown his campaign will be reassessed as a masterpiece of strategic canniness.
There will not be much canniness in these semi-finals.