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 In Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders, Biden faces challengers who appeal to the party’s left flank, much as Reagan beguiled conservatives in the 1970s. Walter Shapiro, The New Republic, "Joe Biden wants to be a normal president in a highly abnormal age.," 6 Jan. 2020 Chen dispatched that last movement, with its beguiling main theme, elegantly, lingering just a bit at key moments to underscore its gypsy flavor. Howard Reich, chicagotribune.com, "CSO review: A dynamic debut from violinist Ray Chen," 6 Dec. 2019 The result is a remarkable and unforgettable mix of real-world horrors and beguiling fantasy. Clark Collis, EW.com, "The 10 best horror films of 2019," 23 Dec. 2019 The French New Wave pioneer who for decades beguiled, challenged and charmed moviegoers in films that inspired generations of filmmakers. Bernard Mcghee, The Denver Post, "Final goodbye: Recalling influential people who died in 2019," 16 Dec. 2019 Sech Is the Revelation: The all-male year-end Top New Latin Artists chart is led by Panamanian singer-songwriter Sech, who beguiled the Latin urban world with his charisma, bookended by an effective use of R&B and reggaetón elements on his songs. Pamela Bustios, Billboard, "The Year in Latin Charts 2019: Bad Bunny Is Year's Top Artist, Owns Top Album & Song," 5 Dec. 2019 Human beings are beguiled by the mysterious aloofness of cats; their prowess as hunters; their sensuous, sculpted bodies; their elegant, acrobatic grace and agility; their kittenish curiosity and mischief; and their regal dignity. Richard Lederer, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Our beloved pets leave paw prints on our hearts," 21 Sep. 2019 The later canvases, made as recently as 1996, boast the impeccable finishes, smooth tonal transitions, rich reddish-black backdrops and beguiling luminosity of great oil paintings from 500 years ago. Washington Post, "In the galleries: The heady works of Soriano at OAS Art Museum of the Americas," 13 Sep. 2019 David Hockney’s beguiling iPad sketches featured in The New Yorker are early examples of this innovation. Anne Quito, Quartzy, "Why editorial illustrations look so similar these days," 26 Oct. 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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Time Traveler for beguile

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

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Last Updated

24 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Beguile.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/beguiles. Accessed 29 January 2020.

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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.

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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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