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[hweed-l, weed-l] /ˈʰwid l, ˈwid l/
verb (used with object), wheedled, wheedling.
to endeavor to influence (a person) by smooth, flattering, or beguiling words or acts:
We wheedled him incessantly, but he would not consent.
to persuade (a person) by such words or acts:
She wheedled him into going with her.
to obtain (something) by artful persuasions:
I wheedled a new car out of my father.
verb (used without object), wheedled, wheedling.
to use beguiling or artful persuasions:
I always wheedle if I really need something.
Origin of wheedle
1655-65; origin uncertain
Related forms
wheedler, noun
wheedlingly, adverb
unwheedled, adjective
1. flatter, cajole. 2, 3. coax, beguile, inveigle. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for wheedling
Historical Examples
  • Sometimes a compliment or a wheedling good wish will take a sudden turn.

  • He no longer treated Bongrand in the wheedling, respectful manner of yore.

    His Masterpiece Emile Zola
  • "No compriendo," he stammered, though I had heard him use good-enough English of a sort in wheedling for tips.

  • Matthew caught his breath, and changed his wheedling tone all at once.

  • Mamie Brady looked at Flynn, when he came up to her, with a gentle, wheedling smile.

    The Portion of Labor Mary E. Wilkins Freeman
  • "Good-evening, Mr. Brereton," he said in a thin, wheedling voice.

    The Borough Treasurer Joseph Smith Fletcher
  • That young woman did not know why she resented more than usual his wheedling attentions.

    The Highgrader William MacLeod Raine
  • Then Viola came forward, and began to plead, in her pretty, wheedling way.

    Peggy Laura E. Richards
  • He was forever lounging off to the village or wheedling his mother for money to take him to Commercial.

    Half Portions Edna Ferber
  • To Win about, to circumvent in any way; especially by wheedling, S.

British Dictionary definitions for wheedling


to persuade or try to persuade (someone) by coaxing words, flattery, etc
(transitive) to obtain by coaxing and flattery: she wheedled some money out of her father
Derived Forms
wheedler, noun
wheedling, adjective
wheedlingly, adverb
Word Origin
C17: perhaps from German wedeln to wag one's tail, from Old High German wedil, wadil tail
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 wheedling



"to influence by flattery," 1660s, perhaps connected with Old English wædlian "to beg" (from wædl "poverty"), or borrowed by English soldiers in the 17c. German wars from German wedeln "wag the tail," hence "fawn, flatter" (cf. adulation).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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