Cunning

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Cunning

See also Trickery.
Adler, Irene
cleverly foiled Sherlock Holmes and the King of Bohemia. [Br. Lit.: Doyle “A Scandal in Bohemia” in Sherlock Holmes]
Artful Dodger
nickname for the sly pickpocket, John Dawkins. [Br. Lit.: Oliver Twist]
Asmodeus
clever, hell-born hero. [Fr. Lit.: Le Diable Boiîteux, Walsh Modern, 31]
Autolycus
craftiest of thieves; stole neighbors’ flocks by changing marks. [Gk. Myth.: NCE, 192]
Bamber, Jack
law clerk with “strange wild slyness.” [Br. Lit.: Pickwick Papers]
Bolingbroke, Henry
cleverness and timing bring him England’s crown. [Br. Lit.: Richard II]
Borgia, Cesare
(1476–1507) unscrupulously plotted against friend and foe. [Ital. Hist.: Plumb, 59–61]
Brer Fox
sly trickster; outwits everyone. [Children’s Lit.: Uncle Remus]
Bunny, Bugs
for whom no trap is too tricky. [Comics: Horn, 140]
cheetah
pounces without warning on prey. [Western Folklore: Jobes, 320]
Cleopatra
manipulates Antony through her “infinite variety.” [Br. Lit.: Antony and Cleopatra]
crow
symbolizes one who lives by his wits. [Western Folklore: Jobes, 388]
Dido
contracts for as much land as can be enclosed by an oxhide; by cutting it into a strip she obtains enough to found a city. [Rom. Legend: Collier’s VI, 259]
Dolius
epithet of Hermes, meaning ‘crafty.’ [Gk. Myth.: Zimmerman, 124]
Fabius
delayed meeting Hannibal’s troops; wore them down; hence, fabian. [Rom. Hist.: Espy, 177]
Figaro
ingeniously contrives means to his own ends. [Fr. Lit.: Barber of Seville; Marriage of Figaro]
fox
symbol of cleverness and deceit. [Animal Symbolism: Mercatante, 84–85]
Foxy Grandpa
shrewd old man always turns the table on mischievous kids. [Comics: Horn, 602]
Helena
tricks husband into fulfilling marital duties. [Br. Lit.: All’s Well That Ends Well]
Hippomenes
beat the swift Atalanta in a race by distracting her with golden apples. [Gk. Myth.: Bulfinch]
Isabella
frustrates captor while pretending compliance. [Ital. Opera: Rossini, Italian Girl in Algeria, Westerman, 118–119]
jackal
outwits the tiger; imprisons him. [Hindu Folklore: Mercatante, 55]
Little Claus
grows rich by tricks and extortions. [Dan. Lit.: Andersen’s Fairy Tales]
Malengin
carries net on back to “catch fools with.” [Br. Lit.: Faerie Queene]
Marion, Francis
(1732–1795) Revolutionary general, nick-named the “Swamp Fox.” [Am. Hist.: Jameson, 308]
Morgiana
female slave cleverly dispatches 40 thieves. [Arab. Lit.: Arabian Nights, “Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves”]
Odysseus
wily and noble hero of the Odyssey. [Gk. Lit.: Odyssey]
Oriol, Father
shrewd landowner with admirable bargaining ability. [Fr. Lit.: Mont-Oriol, Magill I, 618–620]
Panurge
“received answers in twelve known and unknown tongues.” [Fr. Lit.: Gargantua and Pantagruel]
Philadelphia lawyer
clever at finding fine points and technicalities. [Am. Usage: Misc.]
Road Runner
thrives on outwitting Wile E. Coyote. [Comics: “Beep Beep the Road Runner” in Horn, 105]
Sawyer, Tom
hoodwinks friends into painting fence. [Am. Lit.: Tom Sawyer]
Scheherazade
escapes being put to death by telling stories for 1001 nights. [Arab. Lit.: Arabian Nights]
serpent
subtly deceives Eve in the Garden. [O.T.: Genesis 3:1]
Sinon
induces Trojans to take in wooden horse. [Rom. Lit.: Aeneid]
spider ophrys
indicates cleverness. [Flower Symbolism: Flora Symbolica, 177]
third little pig
outwits Wolf; lures him into boiling water. [Children’s Lit.: Bettelheim, 41–45]
Weller, Samuel
ingeniously rescues his master, Mr. Pickwick, from many scrapes. [Br, Lit.: Dickens Pickwick Papers]
Whipple, Molly
outwits ferocious giant and gains his talismanic possessions. [Br. Fairy Tale: “Molly Whipple” in Macleod, 58–641
wolf
symbol on coats of arms. [Heraldry: Halberts, 16]
References in classic literature ?
But the next morning Glumdalclitch, my little nurse, told me the whole matter, which she had cunningly picked out from her mother.
He would go down the hillside into the cultivated lands by night, and look very curiously at the villagers in their huts, but he had a mistrust of men because Bagheera showed him a square box with a drop gate so cunningly hidden in the jungle that he nearly walked into it, and told him that it was a trap.
Within the palace he heard some music, as of many instruments cunningly played, and the melodious warble of nightingales and other birds, and by this, and the appetising smell of many dainty dishes of which he presently became aware, he judged that feasting and merry making were going on.
There he perceives a cunningly wrought fountain of many-coloured jasper and polished marble; here another of rustic fashion where the little mussel-shells and the spiral white and yellow mansions of the snail disposed in studious disorder, mingled with fragments of glittering crystal and mock emeralds, make up a work of varied aspect, where art, imitating nature, seems to have outdone it.
They were armed with broadswords, and 'each man carried his bow and a full quiver of new arrows, straightened and sharpened cunningly by Middle, the tinker.
For my part, I declare, D'Artagnan, I think it of much more consequence than the little piece of waste paper you have so cunningly slipped into your bosom.
Ulysses felt for her and was sorry for her, but he kept his eyes as hard as horn or iron without letting them so much as quiver, so cunningly did he restrain his tears.
But so cunningly contrived a mizmaze was never seen in the world, before nor since.
We do not hear that Memnon's statue gave forth its melody at all under the rushing of the mightiest wind, or in response to any other influence divine or human than certain short-lived sunbeams of morning; and we must learn to accommodate ourselves to the discovery that some of those cunningly fashioned instruments called human souls have only a very limited range of music, and will not vibrate in the least under a touch that fills others with tremulous rapture or quivering agony.
She went, therefore, to the room which her son Vulcan had made her, and the doors of which he had cunningly fastened by means of a secret key so that no other god could open them.
The rear of the tenement--built up with successive ranges of cocoanut boughs bound one upon another, with their leaflets cunningly woven together--inclined a little from the vertical, and extended from the extreme edge of the 'pi-pi' to about twenty feet from its surface; whence the shelving roof--thatched with the long tapering leaves of the palmetto--sloped steeply off to within about five feet of the floor; leaving the eaves drooping with tassel-like appendages over the front of the habitation.
And now, my noble Lord - Nay, pardon, I have here a Lucca damask, The very web of silver and the roses So cunningly wrought that they lack perfume merely To cheat the wanton sense.