Cunning Sayings and Quotes

Below you will find our collection of inspirational, wise, and humorous old cunning quotes, cunning sayings, and cunning proverbs, collected over the years from a variety of sources.

The more cunning a man is, the less he suspects that he will be caught in a simple thing. The more cunning a man is, the simpler the trap he must be caught in.     

Fyodor Dostoevsky

Cunning is the art of concealing our own defects, and discovering other people’s weaknesses.     

William Hazlitt

Cunning leads to knavery. It is but a step from one to the other, and that very slippery. Only lying makes the difference; add that to cunning, and it is knavery.     


Cunning is a short blanket, if you pull it over your face, you expose your feet.     

Austin O'Malley

The cunning man steals a horse, the wise man lets him alone.     

Benjamin Franklin

Cunning is seeing a hundred yards ahead—wisdom, fifty miles in advance.     

Charles William Day

One must be cunning and wicked in this world.     

Leo Tolstoy

Cunning grows in deceit at seeing itself discovered, and tries to deceive with truth itself.     

Balthasar Gracian

Learn well how to think right and then be your own shepherd, otherwise you shall be the unlucky sheep of all sorts of cunning shepherds!     

Mehmet Murat ildan

Do not be held a cheat, even though it is impossible to live today without being one. Let your greatest cunning lie in covering up what looks like cunning.     

Baltasar Gracian

There is nothing so cunning as tangled deception. If you wish to seek out the truth, first uncover the lies that surround the illusion.     

Virginia Alison

Have courage, or cunning, when you deal with an enemy.     

Publilius Syrus

Only the cunning needs excuses.     


The weak in courage is strong in cunning.     

William Blake

Cunning is strength withheld.      

Ralph Waldo Emerson

The greatest cunning is to have none at all.     

French Proverb

Self-love is more cunning than the most cunning man in the world.     

Francois de la Rochefoucauld

Cunning is but the low mimic of wisdom.     


Be neither silly, nor cunning, but wise.      

Benjamin Franklin

Cunning differs from wisdom as twilight from open day.     

Samuel Johnson

Cunning is the mere ape of wisdom, and all hate its low tricks.     

John Thornton

The very cunning conceal their cunning; the indifferently shrewd boast of it.     

Christian Nestell Bovee

The greatest cunning is to have none at all.     

Carl Sandburg

It is important to realize that the cunning are not always vicious. The cunning often do good things, but for self-interested and utility-driven reasons.     

Jeffrey Cornwall

Cunning is the dwarf of wisdom.     

W.R Alger

A cunning man overreaches no one half as much as himself.     

Henry Ward Beecher

Cunning is the intensest rendering of vulgarity, absolute and utter.     


Cunning is none of the best nor worst qualities. It floats between virtue and vice.     

La Bruyère

Cunning has little honor.     

Danish Proverb

Cunning surpasses strength.     

German Proverb