guile

play
noun \ˈgī(-ə)l\

Definition of guile

  1. 1 :  deceitful cunning :  duplicity

  2. 2 obsolete :  stratagem, trick

guileful

play \-fəl\ adjective

guilefully

play \-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>

Origin and Etymology of guile

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


First Known Use: 13th century


GUILE Defined for English Language Learners

guile

play
noun \ˈgī(-ə)l\

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



Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up guile? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

of, relating to, or resembling a fox

Get Word of the Day daily email!

WORD GAMES

Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!

  • alphabet-magnets
  • Which is the correct spelling?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ