wily

adjective
\ ˈwī-lē How to pronounce wily (audio) \
wilier; wiliest

Definition of wily

: full of wiles : crafty a wily negotiator

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Other Words from wily

wilily \ ˈwī-​lə-​lē How to pronounce wily (audio) \ adverb
wiliness \ ˈwī-​lē-​nəs How to pronounce wily (audio) \ noun

Choose the Right Synonym for wily

sly, cunning, crafty, wily, tricky, foxy, artful, slick mean attaining or seeking to attain one's ends by guileful or devious means. sly implies furtiveness, lack of candor, and skill in concealing one's aims and methods. a sly corporate raider cunning suggests the inventive use of sometimes limited intelligence in overreaching or circumventing. the cunning fox avoided the trap crafty implies cleverness and subtlety of method. a crafty lefthander wily implies skill and deception in maneuvering. the wily fugitive escaped the posse tricky is more likely to suggest shiftiness and unreliability than skill in deception and maneuvering. a tricky political operative foxy implies a shrewd and wary craftiness usually involving devious dealing. a foxy publicity man planting stories artful implies indirectness in dealing and often connotes sophistication or cleverness. elicited the information by artful questioning slick emphasizes smoothness and guile. slick operators selling time-sharing

Examples of wily in a Sentence

She turned out to be a wily negotiator. a wily judge of character, she takes advantage of car buyers' insecurities to sell them a bigger machine than they really need
Recent Examples on the Web Among those is the question of why Hazel, presented as a wily, resourceful skeptic, would have been swept off her feet by Byron, who from their first meeting throws up enough red flags for a giant slalom course. James Poniewozik, New York Times, "Review: In ‘Made for Love,’ She Can’t Get Him Out of Her Head," 31 Mar. 2021 The not-so-wily animal stood motionless in the corner of the kitchen until police arrived. Meghan Overdeep, Southern Living, "Watch Police Officers Use Dogs Toys to Coax Coyote from South Carolina Kitchen," 29 Mar. 2021 Judy Hopps works with a wily fox to solve a mysterious case in the mammal metropolis of Zootopia. Los Angeles Times, "Movies on TV this week: ‘An American in Paris’; ‘Ben-Hur’," 26 Mar. 2021 Their joint ticket could cross the necessary threshold in Israel’s proportional representation voting system and enter the Knesset with a useful number of seats to strengthen a potential coalition led by the wily prime minister. Washington Post, "As Israel votes again, Palestinians still wait their turn," 23 Mar. 2021 The ability to smack the snot out of big game animals like black bear and wily old whitetail bucks is what really matters. Richard Mann, Field & Stream, "Cartridge Showdown: .30/30 Winchester vs. .35 Remington," 19 Mar. 2021 He was succeeded by his Vice-President and former governor of New York, Martin Van Buren, a wily political operator with consequential ideas about national affairs. Jelani Cobb, The New Yorker, "What Is Happening to the Republicans?," 8 Mar. 2021 Judy Hopps works with a wily fox to solve a mysterious case in the mammal metropolis of Zootopia. Los Angeles Times, "Movies on TV this week: ‘Lust for Life’; ‘Platoon’ and more," 5 Mar. 2021 Others doubt the ex-president has the attention span or organization to compete with the wily Senate tactician from Kentucky. W. James Antle Iii, Washington Examiner, "GOP angst as Trump and McConnell wage civil war," 19 Feb. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'wily.' 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 wily

14th century, in the meaning defined above

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Time Traveler for wily

Time Traveler

The first known use of wily was in the 14th century

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Statistics for wily

Last Updated

10 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Wily.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/wily. Accessed 14 Apr. 2021.

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More Definitions for wily

wily

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of wily

: full of clever tricks : very clever

wily

adjective
\ ˈwī-lē How to pronounce wily (audio) \
wilier; wiliest

Kids Definition of wily

: full of tricks : crafty

More from Merriam-Webster on wily

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for wily

Nglish: Translation of wily for Spanish Speakers

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