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90s Slang You Should Know


[wahyl] /waɪl/
a trick, artifice, or stratagem meant to fool, trap, or entice; device.
wiles, artful or beguiling behavior.
deceitful cunning; trickery.
verb (used with object), wiled, wiling.
to beguile, entice, or lure (usually followed by away, from, into, etc.):
The music wiled him from his study.
Verb phrases
wile away, to spend or pass (time), especially in a leisurely or pleasurable fashion:
to wile away the long winter nights.
Origin of wile
late Old English
1125-75; (noun) Middle English; late Old English wil, perhaps < Old Norse vēl artifice, earlier *wihl-
Related forms
outwile, verb (used with object), outwiled, outwiling.
Can be confused
while, wile.
1, 2. deception, contrivance, maneuver. See trick. 3. chicanery, fraud. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for wile
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • And look how it revives when the sun draws near enough in the spring to wile the life in it once more out of its grave.

    The Seaboard Parish Vol. 2 George MacDonald
  • She would be possessed of every art and wile of the women of her trade.

    The Heart of Unaga Ridgwell Cullum
  • He pitied her because she was what she was—a wanton who was determined by scheme and wile to gain her ends.

    The Trail Horde Charles Alden Seltzer
  • Now, by some pretext, by some wile, he must live to see her once more.

    Way of the Lawless Max Brand
  • When they paid their checks they wooed her with every wile known to Cupid's art.

  • There was nothing left for him but to wait and wile away the time.

    The Growth of a Soul August Strindberg
  • But such of us as escaped, had little to do, and we contrived to wile away the time agreeably enough.

British Dictionary definitions for wile


trickery, cunning, or craftiness
(usually pl) an artful or seductive trick or ploy
(transitive) to lure, beguile, or entice
Word Origin
C12: from Old Norse vel craft; probably related to Old French wīle, Old English wīgle magic. See guile
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 wile

mid-12c., wil "wile, trick," perhaps from Old North French *wile (Old French guile), or directly from a Scandinavian source (cf. Old Norse vel "trick, craft, fraud," vela "defraud"). Perhaps ultimately related to Old English wicca "wizard" (see Wicca). Lighter sense of "amorous or playful trick" is from c.1600. Wily is attested from c.1300.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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