\ ˈwī(-ə)l How to pronounce wile (audio) \

Definition of wile

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a trick or stratagem intended to ensnare or deceive also : a beguiling or playful trick
2 : skill in outwitting : trickery, guile


wiled; wiling

Definition of wile (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to lure by or as if by a magic spell : entice
2 [by alteration] : while

Keep scrolling for more

Choose the Right Synonym for wile


trick, ruse, stratagem, maneuver, artifice, wile, feint mean an indirect means to gain an end. trick may imply deception, roguishness, illusion, and either an evil or harmless end. the tricks of the trade ruse stresses an attempt to mislead by a false impression. the ruses of smugglers stratagem implies a ruse used to entrap, outwit, circumvent, or surprise an opponent or enemy. the stratagem-filled game maneuver suggests adroit and skillful avoidance of difficulty. last-minute maneuvers to avert bankruptcy artifice implies ingenious contrivance or invention. the clever artifices of the stage wile suggests an attempt to entrap or deceive with false allurements. used all of his wiles to ingratiate himself feint implies a diversion or distraction of attention away from one's real intent. a feint toward the enemy's left flank

Examples of wile in a Sentence

Noun had to use all of her wiles to convince her guests to stay for dinner it took both wile and cajolery to talk him into it Verb her stories of the Old South could wile anyone
See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Petit just turned 36 but has compiled some of his best seasons in his mid-30s, relying more on precision and wile than velocity. Matt Kawahara, SFChronicle.com, 7 Dec. 2020 Virginia Tech is aiming for more in-person classes in the spring semester in 2021 wile operating under COVID-19 restrictions, school officials said Monday. From Usa Today Network And Wire Reports, USA TODAY, 20 Oct. 2020 More generally, seduction was understood as the Use of arts, persuasions, or wiles to overcome the resistance of the female who is not disposed, of her volition, to step aside from the path of virtue. . . . Clement Knox, Time, 4 Feb. 2020 As his mother tries to get back to him, Kevin runs wild through the house and uses all his wiles to protect the house from two thieves, played by Daniel Stern and Joe Pesci, determined to break in for a giant Christmas haul. Melissa Locker, Time, 11 Dec. 2019 For Chandler, a pink bunny suit costume activates his sensitive nature, while Phoebe deals with the wiles of her evil twin Ursula. Cady Lang, Time, 3 Oct. 2019 Bass Krzysztof Baczyk made his Lyric and American debut as Don Basilio, the singing teacher who, like Bartolo, perpetually falls victim to the others’ wiles. Howard Reich, chicagotribune.com, 29 Sep. 2019 Jason Budd was admirable in the dual roles of Benoit, the put-upon landlord and Alcindoro, the eminently deflatable victim of Musetta's wiles. cleveland.com, 16 Sep. 2019 At one point, resigned to the wiles of their quarry, the Le Domases vote to engage the mansion’s security cameras to locate Grace. Eren Orbey, The New Yorker, 24 Aug. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Nevertheless, Viceroy Los Cabos cast a spell of pure hedonistic laziness that helped me wile away the day doing nothing but swimming and sipping. Lauren Mowery, Forbes, 30 Sep. 2021 The immense porch overlooking distant mountains had been Mary Kathryn Watts Patrick's favorite place to seek peace and wile away hours with friends. Mike Masterson, Arkansas Online, 25 Oct. 2020 There’s lots to eat and some intriguing drinks to wile away the time. Beth Segal, cleveland, 5 June 2020 Then riders could wile away the hours waiting for a train by looking for Platform 9 3/4 at King’s Cross Station in the hopes of catching the Hogwarts Express with Harry Potter and friends. Melissa Locker, Time, 21 Dec. 2017 Directed by Carlos Saldanha, Ferdinand is based on the classic children's book about a peace-loving Spanish bull who would rather wile away the hours smelling flowers and daydreaming than taking to the ring to fight. Pamela Mcclintock, The Hollywood Reporter, 12 Dec. 2017 By Joey Green Periodic table + puns galore = dozens of ways to wile away holiday break with hands-on fun. Gemma Tarlach, Discover Magazine, 10 Nov. 2017 Start your night out with a hefty meal at the Ace or prepare to wile away part of the day exploring the site. Trevor Fraser, OrlandoSentinel.com, 13 July 2017 Sorry! is, to my mind, a perfect way to wile away an hour. Heidi Stevens, chicagotribune.com, 21 June 2017

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

See More

First Known Use of wile


12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for wile


Middle English wil, perhaps of Scandinavian origin; akin to Old Norse vēl deceit, artifice

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More About wile

Time Traveler for wile

Time Traveler

The first known use of wile was in the 12th century

See more words from the same century

Dictionary Entries Near wile

wild yellow lily



See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for wile

Cite this Entry

“Wile.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/wile. Accessed 20 Oct. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon
Seen & Heard
People are talking about

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for wile


\ ˈwīl How to pronounce wile (audio) \

Kids Definition of wile

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a trick meant to trap or deceive


wiled; wiling

Kids Definition of wile (Entry 2 of 2)

More from Merriam-Webster on wile

Nglish: Translation of wile for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of wile for Arabic Speakers


Test Your Vocabulary

Dog Words Quiz

  • shiba puppy more or less demanding cuddles
  • Which of the following animals has a dog in its etymology?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something 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!