\ 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 Radomir Antic, Diego Simeone and Javier Irureta each achieved the feat once, but only one man has had the guile, wisdom and tactical knowledge to defeat Spain's heavyweight duo twice in that time - the grossly underappreciated Rafa Benitez. Ben Carter,, "The 50 Greatest Football Managers of All Time," 20 Aug. 2019 While this approach isn’t unheard of among groups that file friend-of-the-court briefs in major cases, the Eagle Forum is remarkably free of guile or subtlety about it. Matt Ford, The New Republic, "The Supreme Court Eyes an Escape Hatch From Trump’s Corruption," 28 Apr. 2020 West, a savvy politician, must hope that his political guile and experience can make a difference. Gromer Jeffers Jr., Dallas News, "MJ Hegar besting Royce West in Democratic Senate race with superior fundraising, infrastructure," 20 Apr. 2020 Walker headed up in the final period, hitting 5 of 8 shots down the stretch, finding the guile to overcome a slow start and help the Celtics prevail., "Inasmuch as this year’s team doesn’t like comparisons to last year’s, that Kyrie Irving-led squad would have lost this game, collapsed under the onslaught, succumbed to the pressure.," 17 Nov. 2019 Under the guile of Carlo Ancelotti, the Partenopei will be looking to escape the group stages after dropping into the Europa League last season, where they were beaten by Arsenal in the quarter finals., "Champions League 2019/20: All 32 Team's Confirmed Squads," 4 Sep. 2019 Now with no more double doubles from John Mooney, no more getting by on guts and guile from Rex Pflueger and no more spiffy stats and little else from T.J. Gibbs, the roster has some massive holes. Tom Noie, Indianapolis Star, "Noie: Resilient Notre Dame basketball team made strides but needs to be better," 18 Mar. 2020 Having amassed 57 league outings from his previous two campaigns, his importance to the team grew during the 2016/17 campaign as goals, guile, guts and assists were brought into his game as Klopp began putting his stamp on the club's playing style., "Emre Can: What's Going on, Buddy?," 17 Oct. 2019 Chalk up another success for Asia's most durable leader and the politics of guile and ruthlessness. Fox News, "Hun Sen plays hardball to keep his grip on Cambodia," 31 July 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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Time Traveler for guile

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for guile

Last Updated

15 Jun 2020

Cite this Entry

“Guile.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 8 Aug. 2020.

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More Definitions for guile


How to pronounce guile (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of guile

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


\ 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

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for guile

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with guile

Spanish Central: Translation of guile

Nglish: Translation of guile for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of guile for Arabic Speakers

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