verb whee·dle \ ˈhwē-dᵊl , ˈwē- \
|Updated on: 20 May 2018

Definition of wheedle

wheedled; wheedling play \ˈ(h)wēd-liŋ, ˈ(h)wē-dᵊl-iŋ\
1 : to influence or entice by soft words or flattery
2 : to gain or get by wheedling
  • wheedle one's way into favor
: to use soft words or flattery

wheedle was our Word of the Day on 09/30/2014. Hear the podcast!

Examples of wheedle in a Sentence

  1. He wheedled quite a bit of money from her.

  2. She pleaded and wheedled, but I wouldn't be swayed.

Recent Examples of wheedle from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'wheedle.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

wheedle Comes Up Often in Literature

Wheedle has been a part of the English lexicon since the mid-17th century, though no one is quite sure how the word made its way into English. (It has been suggested that the term may have derived from an Old English word that meant "to beg," but this is far from certain.) Once established in the language, however, wheedle became a favorite of some of the language's most illustrious writers. Wheedle and related forms appear in the writings of Wordsworth, Dickens, Kipling, Dryden, Swift, Scott, Tennyson, and Pope, among others.

Origin and Etymology of wheedle

origin unknown

Synonym Discussion of wheedle

cajole, coax, soft-soap, blandish, wheedle mean to influence or persuade by pleasing words or actions. cajole suggests the deliberate use of flattery to persuade in the face of reluctance or reasonable objections.
    • cajoled him into cheating on the final exam
coax implies gentle and persistent words or actions employed to produce a desired effect.
    • coaxed the cat out of the tree
soft-soap refers to using smooth and somewhat insincere talk usually for personal gain.
    • politicians soft-soaping eligible voters
blandish implies a more open desire to win a person over by effusive praise and affectionate actions.
    • legislators blandished with promises of support
wheedle suggests more strongly than cajole the use of seductive appeal or artful words in persuading.
    • hucksters wheedling her life's savings out of her

WHEEDLE Defined for English Language Learners


Definition of wheedle for English Language Learners

  • : to persuade someone to do something or to give you something by saying nice things

WHEEDLE Defined for Kids


verb whee·dle \ ˈhwē-dᵊl , ˈwē- \

Definition of wheedle for Students

wheedled; wheedling
1 : to get (someone) to think or act a certain way by flattering : coax “You're such a good cook, you make dinner,” she wheedled.
2 : to gain or get by coaxing or flattering
  • He's trying to wheedle money out of them.

Seen and Heard

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

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!


a simultaneous discharge of guns

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Test Your Emoji Exceptionalism

  • test-your-emoji-exceptionalism-written-with-a-lot-of-emoji
  • What is this emoji intended to represent: 🤳
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

Word Winder's CrossWinder

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


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!