guile

play
noun \ˈgī(-ə)l\

Definition of guile

  1. 1 :  deceitful cunning :  duplicity a war that called for guile rather than firepower

  2. 2 obsolete :  stratagem, trick

guileful

play \ˈgī(-ə)l-fəl\ adjective

guilefully

play \ˈgī(-ə)l-fə-lē\ adverb

guilefulness

noun

Examples of guile in a Sentence

  1. 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

  2. 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

  3. 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

  4. a shady salesman who usually relies on a combination of quick thinking and guile

  5. a person so full of guile he can't even be trusted to give you the correct time of day

Recent Examples of guile from the Web

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.

Origin and Etymology of guile

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


GUILE Defined for English Language Learners

guile

play
noun

Definition of guile for English Language Learners

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


GUILE Defined for Kids

guile

play
noun \ˈgīl\

Definition of guile for Students

  1. :  the use of clever and often dishonest methods



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