beguile

verb
be·guile | \bi-ˈgī(-ə)l, 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, bē- \ noun
beguiler \bi-ˈgī-lər, 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

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 The tiki-taka that so beguiled the world from 2008 through 2012-plus has been decoded, and the players who perfected it have aged out. Brian Straus, SI.com, "Dogged Russia Continues World Cup Run, Brings Spain's Celebrated Era to an End," 1 July 2018 The biography that beguiles his supporters is replete with danger signals. The Economist, "AMLO, Mexico’s answer to Donald Trump," 23 June 2018 The sudden shift may seem heavy-handed and the message a little obvious, but the music is beguiling, not so much simple as transparent and generous. New York Times, "Is ‘Mass’ Leonard Bernstein’s Best Work, or His Worst?," 13 July 2018 Church and his wife, Isabel, were beguiled by the design and fashion of Syria, a territory that at that time held the cities of Beirut, Petra, Jerusalem, Bethlehem, Damascus and Baalbek. Laura Jacobs, WSJ, "‘Costume & Custom: Middle Eastern Threads at Olana’ Review: A Painter’s Souvenir Closet," 2 July 2018 Her own is alive to Florida’s lush, beguiling beauty. The Economist, "Lauren Groff’s short stories pulse with hidden malevolence," 21 June 2018 For some urban planners, the strategy is beguiling. The Economist, "China is trying to turn itself into a country of 19 super-regions," 21 June 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

22 Aug 2018

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 \
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

lying above or upon

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words from Greek and Roman Mythology Quiz

  • the-triumph-of-venus-by-alessandro-magnasco
  • Boreal comes from the name of the ancient Greek god of which wind?
True or False

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

TAKE THE QUIZ
Citation

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!