\ 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

Other Words from guile

guileful \ ˈgī(-​ə)l-​fəl How to pronounce guile (audio) \ adjective
guilefully \ ˈgī(-​ə)l-​fə-​lē How to pronounce guile (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
Recent Examples on the Web Their duel of guile and cannon is a fascinating entry in the annals of warfare at sea. Wsj Books Staff, WSJ, 8 Aug. 2022 But, yes, to your point, the Cavaliers would present a challenge with both the height of Allen, Evan Mobley and Lauri Markkanen, as well as the guile of Garland. Ira Winderman, Sun Sentinel, 27 Apr. 2022 But, yes, to your point, the Cavaliers would present a challenge with both the height of Allen, Evan Mobley and Lauri Markkanen, as well as the guile of Garland. Ira Winderman,, 13 Apr. 2022 Those with vast wealth and unrepentant guile are simply better at gaming the rules. Jacob Carpenter, Fortune, 11 July 2022 Duke must deal with the pressure of trying to win for Coach K and also overcome a tricky challenge from Michigan State, which has enough guile to keep this close and make things interesting. Erick Smith, USA TODAY, 20 Mar. 2022 Emile Smith Rowe gives Arsenal guile in the final third while Bukayo Saka stretches the pitch and provides direct running. Graham Ruthven, Forbes, 31 Oct. 2021 As Aeneas says, what a decade long siege could not achieve, Sinon achieved with his guile in a day. Roger Valdez, Forbes, 3 June 2022 Noah Syndergaard, the dapper Viking with a slowing fastball but a lot of guile, seemed like the guy Monday night against the Boston Red Sox. Houston Mitchell, Los Angeles Times, 7 June 2022 See More

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.

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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Time Traveler for guile

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

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Dictionary Entries Near guile

guild tree



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Last Updated

11 Aug 2022

Cite this Entry

“Guile.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 13 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for guile


\ ˈgīl How to pronounce guile (audio) \

Kids Definition of guile

: the use of clever and often dishonest methods

More from Merriam-Webster on guile

Nglish: Translation of guile for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of guile for Arabic Speakers


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