beguile

[ bih-gahyl ]
/ bɪˈgaɪl /

verb (used with object), be·guiled, be·guil·ing.

to influence by trickery, flattery, etc.; mislead; delude.
to take away from by cheating or deceiving (usually followed by of): to be beguiled of money.
to charm or divert: a multitude of attractions to beguile the tourist.
to pass (time) pleasantly: beguiling the long afternoon with a good book.

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Origin of beguile

First recorded in 1175–1225, beguile is from the Middle English word bigilen.See be-, guile

OTHER WORDS FROM beguile

be·guile·ment, nounbe·guil·er, nounun·be·guiled, adjectiveun·be·guil·ing, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2020

VOCAB BUILDER

What does beguile mean?

Beguile means to mislead through trickery or flattery, or to deceive someone in order to swindle them out of something.

Beguile can also mean to charm in a good way—you can be beguiled by an interesting person or a book that really captures your imagination, for example. Someone or something that’s charming in such a way can be described as beguiling.

All senses of the word can imply a sense of magic or enchantment. There are several similar verbs that often have magical feel, such as charm, enchant, bewitch, enrapture, and enthrall.

Example: He beguiled his victims with a charm that left them unable to see the deception that was taking place.

Where does beguile come from?

The first records of beguile in English come from around 1200. It comes from the Middle English word bigilen. It’s based on the word guile, which can mean “cleverness,” “craftiness,” or “deceptiveness.” The prefix be- is used to form verbs and in this case means “to affect completely or excessively” (it’s found in words like bewitch and bedazzle).

If you have been beguiled by someone, it means you have fallen under their charm. When used this way, the term often implies that their hold on you is like some kind of magic. Whether it’s good magic or bad magic depends on what their motives are. Sometimes, they’re pure, and the experience is enchanting. Other times, the beguiler’s intentions are evil, and they are trying to trick you into doing something. Con artists and swindlers beguile. If you have been beguiled of something, it means it has been taken from you through some form of deception.

Did you know ... ?

What are some other forms related to beguile?

  • beguiling (adjective)
  • beguiler (noun)
  • beguilement (noun)
  • unbeguiled (adjective)

What are some synonyms for beguile?

What are some words that share a root or word element with beguile

 

What are some words that often get used in discussing beguile?

 

How is beguile used in real life?

Beguile is often used in a negative way to refer to the act of deceiving people. But it’s also commonly used to refer to a positive kind of charming.

 

 

Try using beguile!

Which of the following terms is NOT a synonym for beguile?

A. cheat
B. mislead
C. charm
D. disgust

Example sentences from the Web for beguile

British Dictionary definitions for beguile

beguile
/ (bɪˈɡaɪl) /

verb -guiles, -guiling or -guiled (tr)

to charm; fascinate
to delude; influence by slyness
(often foll by of or out of) to deprive (someone) of something by trickery; cheat (someone) of
to pass pleasantly; while away

Derived forms of beguile

beguilement, nounbeguiler, 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