• synonyms


[hweed-l, weed-l]
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verb (used with object), whee·dled, whee·dling.
  1. to endeavor to influence (a person) by smooth, flattering, or beguiling words or acts: We wheedled him incessantly, but he would not consent.
  2. to persuade (a person) by such words or acts: She wheedled him into going with her.
  3. to obtain (something) by artful persuasions: I wheedled a new car out of my father.
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verb (used without object), whee·dled, whee·dling.
  1. to use beguiling or artful persuasions: I always wheedle if I really need something.
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Origin of wheedle

First recorded in 1655–65; origin uncertain
Related formswhee·dler, nounwhee·dling·ly, adverbun·whee·dled, adjective


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

Related Words

finagle, cajole, draw, oil, court, coax, seduce, flatter, banter, snow, inveigle, persuade, charm, entice, sweet-talk, blandish, kowtow, soap, con, soft-soap

Examples from the Web for wheedling

Historical Examples

  • Beneath his wheedling air there was the determination to devour everything.

    The Three Cities Trilogy, Complete

    Emile Zola

  • He no longer treated Bongrand in the wheedling, respectful manner of yore.

    His Masterpiece

    Emile Zola

  • Again did she give vent to a dry laugh which distorted her wheedling face.


    Emile Zola

  • Matthew caught his breath, and changed his wheedling tone all at once.

  • "Sit here by me," urged Justin, in a wheedling tone, and placed a chair for her.

    Glory of Youth

    Temple Bailey

British Dictionary definitions for wheedling


  1. to persuade or try to persuade (someone) by coaxing words, flattery, etc
  2. (tr) to obtain by coaxing and flatteryshe wheedled some money out of her father
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Derived Formswheedler, nounwheedling, adjectivewheedlingly, adverb

Word Origin

C17: perhaps from German wedeln to wag one's tail, from Old High German wedil, wadil tail
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 wheedling



"to influence by flattery," 1660s, perhaps connected with Old English wædlian "to beg" (from wædl "poverty"), or borrowed by English soldiers in the 17c. German wars from German wedeln "wag the tail," hence "fawn, flatter" (cf. adulation).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper