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 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.
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Recent Examples on the Web

The result, however, is a scene that’s beguiling yet rudderless. Owen Gleiberman, chicagotribune.com, "‘Light of My Life’ review: Casey Affleck directs father, daughter on a rudderless journey through dystopian times," 7 Aug. 2019 Still, given his innate centrist tendencies that still beguile the occasional moderate Republican, Mr Warner is wary of the cross-currents of presidential politics. J.s. | Richmond, The Economist, "Senator Mark Warner of Virginia appears to be heading for a third term," 1 Aug. 2019 Unlike the naïve young analysand, we won’t be beguiled by Lucy’s blunt advice. Nicole Rudick, The New Yorker, "How “Peanuts” Created a Space for Thinking," 6 Aug. 2019 Pinori, for her part, needs to appear unceasingly relaxed, sustaining Mona Lisa’s beguiling smile and wandering eyes without revealing any other expressions on her face. Claudia Kalb, National Geographic, "See where Leonardo da Vinci still walks the streets," 6 June 2019 Patel, who spends most of the movie scowling and looking anxious, has a simple, pure voice that perfectly captures the mix of naivete and virtuosity that beguiled the Beatles’ fans in the first place. The Washington Post, The Mercury News, "Review: ‘Yesterday’ is a lovely dalliance, if thin and a bit long," 27 June 2019 Reuters/Radu Sigheti While the Out of Africa romance has long beguiled the western imagination, international millennial tastes are challenging that narrative, as are those of Africa’s own affluent urbanites. Lee Middleton, Quartz Africa, "Luxury safaris are trying to reinvent by getting greener and curbing an “Out of Africa” culture," 14 June 2019 There is something wondrous, beguiling, almost magical about college basketball. Wil Haygood, WSJ, "‘Adolph Rupp and the Rise of Kentucky Basketball’ Review: Hoop Dreams and Nightmares," 29 Mar. 2019 And vibrant shops and cafes, beguiling alleyways with plants cascading from iron balconies, and cloistered courtyards attest to the artists’ talents. Michael J. Bailey, BostonGlobe.com, "In Milan, a low-tech saunter through a mecca of high fashion," 18 June 2019

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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Dictionary Entries near beguile

begrutten

begti

beg to differ

beguile

beguiling

béguin

beguine

Statistics for beguile

Last Updated

19 Sep 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for beguile

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

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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.

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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

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