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[wahy-lee] /ˈwaɪ li/
adjective, wilier, wiliest.
full of, marked by, or proceeding from wiles; crafty; cunning.
Origin of wily
1250-1300; Middle English; see wile, -y1
Related forms
wilily, adverb
wiliness, noun
overwily, adjective
unwily, adjective
artful, sly, designing, intriguing, tricky, foxy, deceitful, treacherous.
straightforward, open. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for wiliness
Historical Examples
  • Faithfulness and devotion, things born of fire and roof, were his; yet he retained his wildness and wiliness.

    The Call of the Wild Jack London
  • Bobby smiled up at him in smug satisfaction over his own wiliness.

    The Dominant Strain Anna Chapin Ray
  • Perhaps it was the reputation for wiliness Forrest had earned which put the Yankee commander on his guard.

    Ride Proud, Rebel! Andre Alice Norton
  • "What the brethren wanted in strength they had in wiliness," he says.

    The Beginners of a Nation Edward Eggleston.
  • His wiliness was perspicacity; and consisted in foreseeing results and protecting himself and others from the traps set for them.

    Ursula Honore de Balzac
  • It depends a lot upon the wiliness of the fox he's in pursuit of.

  • William was strong and wily, and it was this combination of strength and wiliness which enabled him to bear down all opposition.

  • Love had already given strength and wiliness to the countess.

    Maitre Cornelius Honore de Balzac
  • To balance this there were great individual resources when alone,—a sort of Indian wiliness and subtlety of resource.

    Army Life in a Black Regiment Thomas Wentworth Higginson
  • Thy task is then to induce him to make an attempt on the head of Shagpat in all wiliness, as he and thou think well to devise.

British Dictionary definitions for wiliness


adjective wilier, wiliest
characterized by or proceeding from wiles; sly or crafty
Derived Forms
wiliness, noun
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 wiliness



c.1300, from wile + -ly (1). Related: Wiliness.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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