beguile

verb
be·​guile | \ bi-ˈgī(-ə)l How to pronounce beguile (audio) , bē-\
beguiled; beguiling

Definition of beguile

transitive verb

1 : hoodwink beguiled her classmates into doing the work for her
2 : to engage the interest of by or as if by guile His seductive voice beguiled the audience.
3 : to lead by deception beguiled into ambush
4 : to while away especially by some agreeable occupation also : divert sense 2 The seven poems were written to beguile the tedium of a sea voyage. — Vernon Louis Parrington

intransitive verb

: to deceive by wiles had intended to beguile

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from beguile

beguilement \ bi-​ˈgī(-​ə)l-​mənt How to pronounce beguilement (audio) , bē-​ \ noun
beguiler \ bi-​ˈgī-​lər How to pronounce beguiler (audio) , bē-​ \ noun

Choose the Right Synonym for beguile

deceive, mislead, delude, beguile mean to lead astray or frustrate usually by underhandedness. deceive implies imposing a false idea or belief that causes ignorance, bewilderment, or helplessness. tried to deceive me about the cost mislead implies a leading astray that may or may not be intentional. I was misled by the confusing sign delude implies deceiving so thoroughly as to obscure the truth. we were deluded into thinking we were safe beguile stresses the use of charm and persuasion in deceiving. was beguiled by false promises

The Beguiling History of Beguile

A number of English words have traveled a rather curious path from meanings related to deception or trickery to something less unwelcome. A prime example is beguile, which first appeared in English around the 13th century in the sense “to lead or draw by deception.” For the next several centuries, most of the senses of the verb had to do, in one manner or another, with deceiving. Around the time of Shakespeare, however, the word took on a new sense, “to charm.” In a similar vein, fun was first recorded at the end of the 17th century as a verb meaning “to hoax or trick (someone).” It wasn’t until the middle of the 19th century that it began to be used as an adjective indicating that something was enjoyable. Amuse likewise started its life as a verb meaning “to divert the attention of (as from the truth or one's real intent).”

Examples of beguile in a Sentence

She was cunning enough to beguile her classmates into doing the work for her. They were beguiled into thinking they'd heard the whole story. Almost everything in the quaint little town beguiles, from its architecture to its art to its people. He beguiled the audience with his smooth and seductive voice.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web

Agnes Varda, the French New Wave pioneer who for decades beguiled, challenged and charmed moviegoers in films that inspired generations of filmmakers, has died. Samuel Petrequin, The Seattle Times, "Agnes Varda, French New Wave pioneer, dies at 90," 29 Mar. 2019 Swanning around in a fluffy new ball gown in an effort to beguile Bill was not the worst offense in his playbook. Amy Fine Collins, Town & Country, "What It Was Like Dressing Up For Bill Cunningham," 15 Aug. 2018 Gothic drama ensued from Rosalie Craig in Christopher Kane’s feathered sheath, and Coleman’s crested black-lace and tulle dress beguiled the room. Vogue, "Claire Foy, Idris Elba, Anna Wintour, Sophie Okonedo, Ralph Fiennes, and the Cast of Hamilton Fete the 64th Evening Standard Theatre Awards," 19 Nov. 2018 And over the weekend, designers tapped into the exquisite tension between these two camps with a host of beguiling beauty looks on the runway. Lauren Valenti, Vogue, "6 Beauty Moments That Ruled the New York Runways This Weekend," 10 Sep. 2018 But Langara’s natural beauty and abundant wildlife are beguiling. Melanie Kirkpatrick, WSJ, "Cold, Windy Bliss on a Salmon Fishing Trip," 9 Aug. 2018 With Elizabeth Taylor gone, Joan Collins is the only actress from the Golden Age of Hollywood still working, still beguiling, still winning. David Netto, Town & Country, "Living Legend Joan Collins on Her Past, Her Future, and the Very Bad Advice She Got from Warren Beatty," 7 Aug. 2018 Gannett Theater, Bates College, Lewiston, Maine. 207-786-6381, www.batesdance festival.org KAREN CAMPBELL Galleries POWER OF THE FLOWER Miraculous in color and form, emblematic of love, fragility, and spirit, flowers beguile us. BostonGlobe.com, "The Ticket: What’s happening in the local arts world," 28 June 2018 But this season already seems to have brought a bewildering — and at times beguiling — array of fads. Diana Tsui, The Cut, "Bolo Ties and Neck Wallets," 10 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'beguile.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of beguile

13th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 3

History and Etymology for beguile

Middle English bigilen, beguilen, from bi-, be- be- + gile guile or gilen "to deceive, cheat", borrowed from Old French guiler, derivative of guile

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about beguile

Listen to Our Podcast about beguile

Dictionary Entries near beguile

begrutten

begti

beg to differ

beguile

beguiling

béguin

beguine

Statistics for beguile

Last Updated

18 Apr 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for beguile

The first known use of beguile was in the 13th century

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for beguile

beguile

verb

English Language Learners Definition of beguile

: to trick or deceive (someone)
: to attract or interest someone

beguile

verb
be·​guile | \ bi-ˈgīl How to pronounce beguile (audio) \
beguiled; beguiling

Kids Definition of beguile

1 : trick entry 2, deceive He was beguiled with lies.
2 : to cause time to pass pleasantly … throughout the rest of our night-march he beguiled the way with whistling of many tunes …— Robert Louis Stevenson, Kidnapped
3 : to attract or interest by or as if by charm The scenery beguiled us.

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on beguile

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for beguile

Spanish Central: Translation of beguile

Nglish: Translation of beguile for Spanish Speakers

Comments on beguile

What made you want to look up beguile? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

to move with exaggerated bouncy motions

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Finance Words Quiz

  • a-piggy-bank
  • The etymology of mortgage is related most closely to which two words?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!