canny (clever) = geschickt, klug, scharfsinnig, schlau, umsichtig —— uncanny (mysterious, seemingly supernatural) = verblüffend, unheimlich
“Pinball is booming in America, thanks to nostalgia and CANNY marketing. A generations-old game makes a comeback.
The Economist (14th May 2023)
“CANNY Scots least likely to take pension risk. Risk-averse Scots are the least likely to take a risk with their investments, according to financial planning firm Wren Sterling.”
Scottish Financial News (28th July 2023)
- thinking quickly and cleverly, especially in business or financial matters
Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary
The term "canny" originates from the Scots language, a Germanic language variety spoken in Lowland Scotland and parts of Ulster in Northern Ireland.
The word "canny" first appeared in English in the late 16th century and was used to mean "skilful, crafty, or ingenious." By the 18th century, it had come to mean "careful, cautious, prudent," reflecting a more positive and virtuous trait.
Over time, "canny" has also come to mean shrewd or savvy, especially in business or financial matters.
The ultimate origin of "canny" isn't clear, but it may be related to the Old English cunnan meaning "to know," which is also the root of the English word "can" in the sense of being able to do something.
NOT SO CANNY AD-AGENCY
In 2003, a British ad agency began selling advertising space on foreheads: University students (paid about £10/hour) agreed to have their heads stamped with temporary-tattoo brand logos before appearing in public places. The agency's name? Cunning Stunts Communications, who went bankrupt in 2009, a victim of the 2008 financial crisis.
- for clever
acute, adept, all-knowing, as sharp as a tack, as smart as a whip, astute, brainy, bright, CANNY, clever, clued-in, crafty, cunning, discerning, eagle-eyed, enlightened, fast on the uptake, farsighted, foxy, got the smarts, guileful, has a good head on their shoulders, has the know-how, hawk-eyed, insightful, intelligent, knows all the angles (the ropes, the score), not born yesterday, on the ball, quick-witted, savvy, shrewd, smart as a fox, switched-on, wary, wise, with all one's wits about one, with it
THE OPPOSITE OF CANNY IS NOT UNCANNY !
If canny refers to being clever and shrewd, then you would think that "uncanny" must mean stupid and naïve since it has the "un" prefix which is normally used to negate a word (e.g. unwanted, unskilled, unable, etc.). English is not always that simple though.
In 16th century Scotland canny also meant trustworthy. As a result, uncanny was used in the sense of "not safe to trust". Uncanny evolved over the centuries to the present day definition of mysterious, strange, astonishing or magical. Uncanny is therefore not the opposite of the modern definition of canny.
Opposites of uncanny are: commonplace, common, conventional, everyday, expected, familiar, known, mundane, natural, normal, ordinary, predictable, recognizable, usual.
SMUGGLE OWAD into an English conversation, say something like:
“CANNY investors take advantage of downturns to buy stocks at low prices."
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