• synonyms


adjective, wil·i·er, wil·i·est.
  1. full of, marked by, or proceeding from wiles; crafty; cunning.
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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



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

Examples from the Web for wilily

Historical Examples

  • The enfants terrible had wilily caught his lordship in the corridor, and made their own terms.

    Children's Rhymes, Children's Games, Children's Songs, Children's Stories

    Robert Ford

  • Wilily and patiently he goes to work to make his own foundation sure first of all.

    Concerning Animals and Other Matters

    E.H. Aitken, (AKA Edward Hamilton)

  • I inquired, wilily, hoping the answer would give me some clew to his acquaintance with her.

    The First Violin

    Jessie Fothergill

British Dictionary definitions for wilily


adjective wilier or wiliest
  1. characterized by or proceeding from wiles; sly or crafty
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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 wilily



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

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper