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See more synonyms for wily on Thesaurus.com
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


See more synonyms for wily on Thesaurus.com
artful, sly, designing, intriguing, tricky, foxy, deceitful, treacherous.


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

Examples from the Web for wiliness

Historical Examples

  • Garnache went about sounding the man with a wiliness peculiarly his own.

    St. Martin's Summer

    Rafael Sabatini

  • Bobby smiled up at him in smug satisfaction over his own wiliness.

    The Dominant Strain

    Anna Chapin Ray

  • I will watch with the wiliness of a snake, that I may sting with its venom.


    Mary W. Shelley

  • "What the brethren wanted in strength they had in wiliness," he says.

    The Beginners of a Nation

    Edward Eggleston.

  • It depends a lot upon the wiliness of the fox he's in pursuit of.

British Dictionary definitions for wiliness


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 wiliness



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

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper