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  1. insidious cunning in attaining a goal; crafty or artful deception; duplicity.
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Origin of guile

1175–1225; Middle English < Old French < Germanic; akin to wile

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Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for guile


  1. clever or crafty character or behaviour
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Derived Formsguileful, adjectiveguilefully, adverbguilefulness, noun

Word Origin for guile

C18: from Old French guile, of Germanic origin; see wile
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

Word Origin and History for guile


mid-12c., from Old French guile "deceit, wile, fraud, ruse, trickery," from Frankish *wigila "trick, ruse" or a related Germanic source (cf. Old Frisian wigila "sorcery, witchcraft," Old English wil "trick;" see wile).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper