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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 wily
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • This overt act was just what was desired by the wily Puritans.

    Acadia Frederic S. Cozzens
  • A change was visible in the wily Seneschal's fat countenance.

    St. Martin's Summer Rafael Sabatini
  • Some of these wily prophets pretend to read their predictions in the course of the planets.

    Popular Books on Natural Science Aaron David Bernstein
  • But they were too wily to be caught in such a trap, and our attempt failed.

  • Yet preferable, I should say, to the wily and treacherous savages the Americans have been accustomed to fighting.

    The Thorn in the Nest Martha Finley
British Dictionary definitions for wily


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 wily

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

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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