I JUST got a message from feedback saying 'crafty' was now accepted. I feel your pain if clever no longer is acceptable and has been in the past (that has happened to me elsewhere) but from everything I can figure out about 'furba' talking to native speakers and looking at references, 'crafty' seems to fit the bill of 'being clever about getting one's own profit/way'
My Italian friends from the Milan area use it in conversation to compliment a friend on a good business deal, as in bargaining for an additional discount for something already on sale. I haven't heard my Roman friends use it in conversation use it. I think of "furbo" as one of those words without an exact English cognate and, where context matters.
I commend your response to those wishing to learn about italian culture beyond coffee, ice cream, wine and sun - as an example of a certain sort of italian's (minority thankfully) inability to discuss/debate without resorting to obscenity, aggression and personal comments. Students will find other examples on certain shouty TV talk shows. Italy is very much my business and my reading of the definition of furbo, and views of it, with examples, are, i am confident, very similar to many italians. Here's to italy's future, a civil inclusive liberal one.
Wikipedia gives various Italian terms for the cunning folk meaning of cunning woman (wise woman):
The names used for cunning-folk in Italy vary from region to region, although such names include praticos (wise people), guaritori (healers), fattucchiere (fixers), donne che aiutano (women who help) and mago, maga or maghiardzha (sorcerers). At times, they were sometimes called streghe (witches)
To make it clear, this is not a request for any of these terms to be accepted when translating this sentence from English to Italian. I wanted only to know what the translation of cunning woman would be for this particular context, as I considered it unlikely to be donna furba. I hope the Italian words I have found (above) are of interest. :)
There appears to be a theme with the Green Owls adjectives. The men are intelligent, nice, and great athletes, but the women are cunning, boring, and bad students. At least the girls still get to stay 'pretty'.<h1>1950ended70yearsago</h1>
In my experience as a native english speaker of nearly 40 years, with extensive tertiary education, usually when someone describes another as cunning, it means smart in a sneaky way, and most often it is meant as a negative. To say one is cunning in a positive way, we say deft, skillful, or clever, avoiding the word 'cunning' altogether.
Furbo/a= shrewd, smart, cunning, sly, crafty [furbo come una volpe=crazy like a fox]
For people who knows how to help themselves in all uncomfortable situations or how to reach their goals in a effective way carefully avoiding pitfalls and beeing smart and devising clever ways and resourcefulness (qualità di chi, nella vita, sa trarsi abilmente d'impaccio o raggiungere i propri scopi, evitando accuratamente le insidie e ricorrendo a ingegnosi espedienti).
It's the same in Italian, really, except "signora" also means Mrs so it would be fine to call her so. But the point I wanted to come across is that "lady" (and "signora") has a degree of politeness that is totally absent in "woman" (and "donna"). It wouldn't be right to call a woman who is young, low-class and has bad manners a "lady". At least in Italy that could come out as offensive. Mukka in other comments summarized it as "every lady is a woman, but not every woman is a lady".
@AernJardos You wouldn't call any woman "donna" to her face in Italy either; I can't really think of any default in Italian, pretty much all of them might result in a gaffe. To err on the polite side you can just ask them how they want to be called, but if they're on with age people default to signora. Incidentally Loredana Bertè wrote "Non sono una signora" (I'm not a lady).
@F.Formica Interesting, because in the US the opposite applies. It is never an etiquette error to refer to a woman as a "lady" or address a woman as "Miss" or "Ma'am". However it can be very crass to call her "woman" (especially to her face).
Basically the US default is to err on the side of politeness. The worst case scenario is you come off slightly old-fashioned.
Yes, I'm still around, although less than I used to :) I agree, I was trying to get across how "lady" has a degree of respect that "woman" doesn't; and the way some people apply "lady" to every female human feels more than a bit sexist to me (how come not even waiters call me "sir"?).