beguile

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English[edit]

Alternative forms[edit]

  • begyle [from the Middle English period through the 16th century]

Etymology[edit]

From Middle English begilen, begylen; equivalent to be- +‎ guile. Compare Middle Dutch begilen (to beguile). Doublet of bewile.

Pronunciation[edit]

  • Rhymes: -aɪl
  • IPA(key): /bɪˈɡaɪl/
  • (file)

Verb[edit]

beguile (third-person singular simple present beguiles, present participle beguiling, simple past and past participle beguiled)

  1. (transitive) To deceive or delude (using guile).
  2. (transitive) To charm, delight or captivate.
    • 1864 November 21, Abraham Lincoln (signed) or John Hay, letter to Mrs. Bixby in Boston
      I feel how weak and fruitless must be any words of mine which should attempt to beguile you from the grief of a loss so overwhelming.
    I will never touch The Orb, even though its mysterious glow seduces and beguiles.
  3. (transitive) To cause (time) to seem to pass quickly, by way of pleasant diversion.
    We beguiled the hours away
    • 1899 Feb, Joseph Conrad, “The Heart of Darkness”, in Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine, page 213:
      They beguiled the time by backbiting and intriguing against each other in a foolish kind of way.

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