wily

play
adjective \ ˈwī-lē \

Definition of wily

wilier; wiliest
:full of wiles :crafty
  • a wily negotiator

wilily

play \ˈwī-lə-lē\ adverb

wiliness

play \ˈwī-lē-nəs\ noun

Examples of wily in a Sentence

  1. She turned out to be a wily negotiator.

  2. a wily judge of character, she takes advantage of car buyers' insecurities to sell them a bigger machine than they really need

Recent Examples of wily from the Web

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.

First Known Use of wily

14th century

Synonym Discussion of 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

WILY Defined for English Language Learners

wily

play
adjective

Definition of wily for English Language Learners

  • : full of clever tricks : very clever


WILY Defined for Kids

wily

play
adjective \ ˈwī-lē \

Definition of wily for Students

wilier; wiliest
:full of tricks :crafty


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