adjective, wil·i·er, wil·i·est.

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 formswil·i·ly, adverbwil·i·ness, nouno·ver·wil·y, adjectiveun·wil·y, adjective

Synonyms for wily

Antonyms for wily

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for wilier

Historical Examples of wilier

  • As we laid her 'neath the wilier on the banks o' Turkey Run.

    Oklahoma and Other Poems

    Freeman E. Miller

  • De Courcy failed, but the De Burghs were wilier and more successful.

  • But he emerged a better and wilier bandit than before, to embark upon a career that made his former life seem tame.

  • I have seen women steeped in trickery; the wilier they were the more love surrounded them.


    Magdeleine Marx

British Dictionary definitions for wilier


adjective wilier or wiliest

characterized by or proceeding from wiles; sly or crafty
Derived Formswiliness, 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

Word Origin and History for wilier



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

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper