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

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Other Words from beguile

beguilement \ bi-​ˈgī(-​ə)l-​mənt How to pronounce beguile (audio) , bē-​ \ noun
beguiler \ bi-​ˈgī-​lər How to pronounce beguile (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.
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Recent Examples on the Web The result is a collection of photographs which beguile with intimacy and the unexpected. Lilah Ramzi, Vogue, "Meet the Artist Using a 100-Year-Old Technique to Depict the Power of Women’s Hair," 25 Oct. 2020 His smile serves as translation: Le Comptoir du Vin beguiles diners from the start. Tom Sietsema, Washington Post, "It’s tough to score a table at this tiny Baltimore bistro, but you’ll be so happy you did," 11 Mar. 2020 When Reichardt saw Evie’s photograph, she was beguiled by her serene features and went to meet the cow in Washington, where the animal’s tranquil demeanor soon won her over. Isaac Feldberg, Fortune, "‘First Cow’ director Kelly Reichardt on 19th-century Oregon and bovine headshots," 6 Mar. 2020 But this is one resourceful rodent, and who isn’t just a little beguiled by his determination? New York Times, "Respect the Hustle of Soda Can Raccoon and Murder Cat," 22 Nov. 2019 Consumers are seduced and beguiled by flavorists without even being aware of it. Washington Post, "Inside the little-known world of flavorists, who are trying to make plant-based meat taste like the real thing," 4 Nov. 2019 Which is to say, the salsa star is really very good at beguiling a stadium-size crowd with nothing more than a lingering glance, a cocked hip or a slow-motion wink. Mark Jenkins, Washington Post, "Marc Anthony elicits screams, swoons and singalongs at Washington concert," 23 Feb. 2020 The French New Wave pioneer who for decades beguiled, challenged and charmed moviegoers in films that inspired generations of filmmakers. Bernard Mcghee, Twin Cities, "Final goodbye: Recalling influential people who died in 2019," 29 Dec. 2019 Whether through lawsuits, or donations to district attorneys and judges and power-brokers, or simply by beguiling law enforcement agents with meals and golf outings, Trump has escaped again and again. Andrea Bernstein, The New York Review of Books, "Corruption with No Consequences, from Bridgegate to Impeachment," 31 Jan. 2020

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.

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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

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Time Traveler for beguile

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

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Cite this Entry

“Beguile.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/beguile. Accessed 24 Jan. 2021.

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More Definitions for beguile

beguile

verb
How to pronounce beguile (audio)

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.

More from Merriam-Webster on beguile

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for beguile

Nglish: Translation of beguile for Spanish Speakers

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