Try Our Apps


Avoid these words. Seriously.


[wahy-lee] /ˈwaɪ li/
adjective, wilier, wiliest.
full of, marked by, or proceeding from wiles; crafty; cunning.
Origin of wily
Middle English word dating back to 1250-1300; See origin at 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. 2018.
Cite This Source
Examples from the Web for wiliness
Historical Examples
  • Garnache went about sounding the man with a wiliness peculiarly his own.

    St. Martin's Summer Rafael Sabatini
  • Bobby smiled up at him in smug satisfaction over his own wiliness.

    The Dominant Strain Anna Chapin Ray
  • I will watch with the wiliness of a snake, that I may sting with its venom.

    Frankenstein Mary W. Shelley
  • "What the brethren wanted in strength they had in wiliness," he says.

    The Beginners of a Nation Edward Eggleston.
  • It depends a lot upon the wiliness of the fox he's in pursuit of.

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

    Maitre Cornelius Honore de Balzac
  • I asked with a still further meekness that was the depths of wiliness.

    The Tinder-Box Maria Thompson Daviess
  • Who knowing their wiliness, saith to them: Why tempt you me?

  • Perhaps it was the reputation for wiliness Forrest had earned which put the Yankee commander on his guard.

    Ride Proud, Rebel! Andre Alice Norton
  • William was strong and wily, and it was this combination of strength and wiliness which enabled him to bear down all opposition.

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
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for wiliness



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

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Nearby words for wiliness

Word Value for wiliness

Scrabble Words With Friends