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From Middle English gile, from Anglo-Norman gile, from Old French guile (deception)[1], from Frankish *wigila (ruse). Cognate via Proto-Germanic with wile.


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guile (countable and uncountable, plural guiles)

  1. (uncountable) Astuteness often marked by a certain sense of cunning or artful deception.
    • 2012 April 24, Phil Dawkes, “Barcelona 2-2 Chelsea”, in BBC Sport[1]:
      It was a result that owed a lot to a moment of guile from Ramires but more to a display of guts from the Brazilian and his team-mates after Terry's needless dismissal eight minutes before half-time for driving a knee into the back of Alexis Sanchez off the ball.
    • 2011 November 11, Rory Houston, “Estonia 0-4 Republic of Ireland”, in RTE Sport[2]:
      Estonia were struggling to get to grips with the game while Ireland were showing a composure and guile that demonstrated their experience in play-off ties.
  2. Deceptiveness, deceit, fraud, duplicity, dishonesty.



guile (third-person singular simple present guiles, present participle guiling, simple past and past participle guiled)

  1. To deceive, beguile, bewile.
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Edmund Spenser to this entry?)

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  1. ^ T.F. Hoad, Concise Dictionary of English Etymology, →ISBN; headword guile

Old French[edit]


Frankish, see above


guile f (oblique plural guiles, nominative singular guile, nominative plural guiles)

  1. trickery; deception


  • English: guile


  • Godefroy, Frédéric, Dictionnaire de l'ancienne langue française et de tous ses dialectes du IXe au XVe siècle (1881) (guile)