guile

noun
\ ˈgī(-ə)l How to pronounce guile (audio) \

Definition of guile

1 : deceitful cunning : duplicity a war that called for guile rather than firepower
2 obsolete : stratagem, trick

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Other Words from guile

guileful \ ˈgī(-​ə)l-​fəl How to pronounce guileful (audio) \ adjective
guilefully \ ˈgī(-​ə)l-​fə-​lē How to pronounce guilefully (audio) \ adverb
guilefulness noun

Examples of guile in a Sentence

By the end of Liebling's dispatch, Mollie has become a mythic figure invulnerable to death, capable of great feats of courage and guile, and able to transform himself into any human type for the purposes of disguise. — Lee Siegel, Harper's, December 2004 The going was painfully slow, but Chickenhound consoled himself on the long journey by boosting his own ego. "Maybe a silly bunch of rats could put one over on Sela. Huh, she was old and had lost a lot of her guile. Not like me! They hadn't reckoned with a smart intelligent young fox like I am." — Brian Jacques, Redwall, (1986) 2002 Untrained human nature was not frank and innocent; it was full of the twists and defences of an instinctive guile. — Edith Wharton, The Age of Innocence, 1920 a shady salesman who usually relies on a combination of quick thinking and guile a person so full of guile he can't even be trusted to give you the correct time of day
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Recent Examples on the Web

What the Scot missed out on, future Reds managers took advantage of, the slippery winger's guile and trickery adding an intriguing element to the team. SI.com, "Kenny Dalglish: The King of Anfield's All-Time Best XI," 19 June 2019 And tired eyes grow bright again, And careworn faces smile; And dreams are sweet and moments fleet, And hearts are free from guile. San Diego Union-Tribune, "From the Archives: L. Frank Baum at Coronado," 16 June 2019 In it’s place is guile, guts, and a legendary resilience. Rohan Nadkarni, SI.com, "The Warriors Deserve to Win These NBA Finals," 11 June 2019 Jaladoras became infamous for their guile and deceit. Rachel Nolan, Harper's magazine, "Destined for Export," 10 June 2019 The fiction in this sci-fi was Ava: a truly convincing humanoid, powered by A.I., with all the cunning and guile of a Machiavellian human. Kevin Dupzyk, Popular Mechanics, "How 'Ex Machina' Foresaw the Weaponization of Data," 16 Jan. 2019 Monohulls require guile and finding ways to steal an opponent's wind. Luke O'brien, Town & Country, "Hot Pursuit," 1 Sep. 2013 The 66-year-old Hun Sen has been in power for 33 years, combining guile and strong-arming to dominate his country's politics. Sopheng Cheang, Fox News, "Cambodia's longtime leader Hun Sen begins another term," 6 Sep. 2018 On the other is Cambodia's Hun Sen, who has ruled his nation with a combination of political guile and brute force for three decades, and comes to New York having won all the seats in an election after outlawing his main political opposition. Matthew Pennington, Fox News, "Malaysia, Cambodia offer 2 Asian narratives of change at UN," 27 Sep. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'guile.' 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 guile

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for guile

Middle English gile, from Anglo-French, probably of Germanic origin; akin to Old English wigle divination — more at witch

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Statistics for guile

Last Updated

14 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for guile

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

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More Definitions for guile

guile

noun

English Language Learners Definition of guile

: the use of clever and usually dishonest methods to achieve something

guile

noun
\ ˈgīl How to pronounce guile (audio) \

Kids Definition of guile

: the use of clever and often dishonest methods

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More from Merriam-Webster on guile

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with guile

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for guile

Spanish Central: Translation of guile

Nglish: Translation of guile for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of guile for Arabic Speakers

Comments on guile

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