: deceitful cunning : duplicity
a war that called for guile rather than firepower
obsolete : stratagem, trick
guileful adjective
guilefully 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 Opponents had underestimated the grit and guile of someone who grew up poor, cut his teeth in the labor and immigrant rights movements and wasn’t about to leave the good life of politics just because a bunch of wokosos screamed at him. Gustavo Arellano, Los Angeles Times, 6 Mar. 2024 That is partly because smaller armies facing larger foes must rely on guile over brawn. Shashank Joshi, Foreign Affairs, 20 Feb. 2024 See all Example Sentences for guile 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'guile.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


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

First Known Use

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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

Dictionary Entries Near guile

Cite this Entry

“Guile.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/guile. Accessed 24 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition


: sly trickery : duplicity
guileful adjective

More from Merriam-Webster on guile

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