Looking for an English equivalent of the Chinese noun 心眼 if there is any, or the best way to describe it. If someones has 心眼, then you can say they are sly.
But, what do they have if they are sly?
To try and describe the word's meaning, it is a noun that means something like figurative 'brains', 'sneaky' or 'trickery'. If someone is said to have bad 心眼, it means they can think up trickery and be evil to deliberately sabotage someone, or at least to work a situation to their advantage/avoid being disadvantaged. 心眼 on it's own doesn't necessarily have to be evil, it can also mean being able to protect oneself. For example:
Say you are going to a party out of necessity but you don't really want to go. In Chinese, if you had 'a little 心眼'(多一点心眼), you can say you still have things to do, and leave early.
An example of bad 心眼 could be where a person deliberately runs late when they need to give another person a ride, or fixing a deck of cards before a game so that when it is dealt, specific cards to to a specific person. Or, here's an example everyone should be able to understand, Cinderella's stepmother and sisters had a lot of bad 心眼 when they said Cinderella can go to the ball if she gets all the work done AND sews her own clothes, but then purposely give her a lot of work so she can't get everything done on time. (On the surface it looks like they were kind to let her go but in reality it was a set up).
If a person has no 心眼, it means they are too naive and easy to take advantage of. In English, you can say they have no brains.
What I want to do is, rather than having to say "A person is sly" in the nominative case, I want to say "A person has no ___" in the accusative case (I believe they are in the right cases, please correct if this is wrong).
In the movie "Mrs Doubtfire", Daniel secretly changed the numbers on the ad that his wife, Miranda, put in the paper looking for a nanny, so that only he knew the real number and no one else would be able to call. In Chinese, you would say he 耍 (which sort of means to play, do or implemented) a 心眼. Can I say in English, he played a trick where trick is the noun? This sounds very juvenile though.