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[gahyl] /gaɪl/
insidious cunning in attaining a goal; crafty or artful deception; duplicity.
Origin of guile
1175-1225; Middle English < Old French < Germanic; akin to wile
trickery, fraud, craft. See deceit. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for guile
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • After a while Marks suspicion is aroused, to be lulled by guile.

  • There was no guile or evil in them, and because of it she wondered all the more that she could not face them.

    The Monster Men Edgar Rice Burroughs
  • By my soul, I think thee As free from guile, as yon blue vault from clouds, And clear as rain-drops ere they touch the earth!

  • Thus he says, truly, therefore we must meet guile with guile.

  • Emmy Lou was pink-cheeked and chubby and in her heart there was no guile.

    Emmy Lou George Madden Martin
  • He was being forced to play a deep game with her and was meeting guile with guile.

    Ruggles of Red Gap Harry Leon Wilson
  • Probably, by the time he reached the tenth green, he was too intent upon his game to remember how guile had won him freedom.

    Seeing Things at Night Heywood Broun
  • There must be guile behind it, or he knew naught of the ways of men.

    The Sea-Hawk Raphael Sabatini
British Dictionary definitions for guile


clever or crafty character or behaviour
Derived Forms
guileful, adjective
guilefully, adverb
guilefulness, noun
Word Origin
C18: from Old French guile, of Germanic origin; see wile
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for guile

mid-12c., from Old French guile "deceit, wile, fraud, ruse, trickery," from Frankish *wigila "trick, ruse" or a related Germanic source (cf. Old Frisian wigila "sorcery, witchcraft," Old English wil "trick;" see wile).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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