beguile

verb

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

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
beguilement noun
beguiler noun

Did you know?

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 with the meaning “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, a more appealing sense charmed its way into the English language and hasn’t left since: “to attract or interest someone,” or in other words, “to charm.” Nowadays, you’re just as likely to hear beguile applied to someone who woos an audience with charisma, as to a wily trickster who hoodwinks others to get their way.

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

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.
Recent Examples on the Web Consider the Royal Mansour Marrakech, the legendary 53-villa hotel in Morocco’s beguiling Red City. Hannah Selinger, Travel + Leisure, 5 July 2024 Some characters are beguiled by the clay under London or insects thriving beneath a backyard. Jeremy Atherton Lin, Washington Post, 4 July 2024 June Leaf, a beloved artist whose beguiling, unclassifiable works explored the limits of the human body, died on Monday in New York at 94. Alex Greenberger, ARTnews.com, 2 July 2024 Of course, the easy conclusion is that we have been beguiled by the system or the parties or the candidates. Beth Greenfield, Fortune, 1 July 2024 See all Example Sentences for beguile 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'beguile.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

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

First Known Use

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

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

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Dictionary Entries Near beguile

Cite this Entry

“Beguile.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/beguile. Accessed 23 Jul. 2024.

Kids Definition

beguile

verb
be·​guile bi-ˈgī(ə)l How to pronounce beguile (audio)
beguiled; beguiling
1
: to deceive by cunning means
was beguiled into thinking everything was all right
2
: to draw notice or interest by charm
a beguiling manner
it is the scenery that beguiles the tourists
3
: to cause time to pass pleasantly
beguile the time by telling stories
beguilement noun
beguiler noun

More from Merriam-Webster on beguile

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