Definition of sly in English:
adjective (slyer, slyest)
- Those raised in urban Western understanding of the psychology of the animal kingdom tend to view the fox as a cunning, sly, deceitful animal.
- She was a rather cunning and sly teenager by nature, accented by her narrow brown eyes and usual smirk.
- When Chinese describe a person as ‘a monkey’, it means the person is extremely sly or cunning.
- He couldn't resist what appeared a sly dig at the directors of Dundee, suggesting that by refusing to accept his offer to invest, they were willing to risk their club's financial well-being.
- He seems touched but then can't resist having a sly dig at himself by pointing out that the really tender thing to have done would have been not to include it on the album.
- Stan nodded conspiratorially, a sly grin creeping over his face.
Early use of sly, which comes from Old Norse slœgr ‘cunning’, included the sense ‘dexterous, skilful’. The phrase on the sly is recorded in use from the early 19th century. Sleight (Middle English) is from the same source, and passed from the sense ‘cunning’ to ‘sleight of hand’ in the late 16th century.
on the sly
- In a secretive fashion: she was drinking on the slyMore example sentences
- Unfortunately, the train to my conference left at 4 AM after a night spent trying to acquire a travel visa on the sly, which meant drinking a lot of vodka.
- And there still is such a thing as scavenging on the sly - sneaking into dumpsters for the great find.
- Younger and wirier than his charge, talking a mile a minute and singing during his chores, he nonetheless shows a careworn, weary face, and he drinks on the sly.
- 1 (also slily) adverb
- Example sentences
- There was no small number of secret looks cast slyly between them during the process.
- It's a quick, cheap, fun read that's entertaining and slyly apolitical.
- In contrast to the dignified silence from the other side, even slyly whispered accusations are magnified to sound deafeningly crass.
- Example sentences
- He can pull a prank with craftiness and slyness, so cunningly that even the heroes of war would not be able to spot it.
- He seems to know all the possible ways one might lie-with craftiness, slyness, deception.
- ‘The slyness was a horrible moral and personal version of spots,’ he says, ‘and I think I just grew out of it in a strange way.’
Words that rhyme with slyally, Altai, apply, assai, awry, ay, aye, Baha'i, belie, bi, Bligh, buy, by, bye, bye-bye, chi, Chiangmai, Ciskei, comply, cry, Cy, Dai, defy, deny, Di, die, do-or-die, dry, Dubai, dye, espy, eye, fie, fly, forbye, fry, Frye, goodbye (US goodby), guy, hereby, hi, hie, high, I, imply, I-spy, July, kai, lie, lye, Mackay, misapply, my, nearby, nigh, Nye, outfly, passer-by, phi, pi, pie, ply, pry, psi, Qinghai, rai, rely, rocaille, rye, scry, serai, shanghai, shy, sigh, sky, Skye, sky-high, spin-dry, spry, spy, sty, Sukhotai, supply, Tai, Thai, thereby, thigh, thy, tie, Transkei, try, tumble-dry, underlie, Versailles, Vi, vie, whereby, why, wry, Wye, xi, Xingtai, Yantai
What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?
Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.