View synonyms for wily


[ wahy-lee ]


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

    Synonyms: treacherous, deceitful, foxy, tricky, designing, sly, artful

    Antonyms: open, straightforward


/ ˈwaɪlɪ /


  1. characterized by or proceeding from wiles; sly or crafty

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Derived Forms

  • ˈwiliness, noun

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Other Words From

  • wili·ly adverb
  • wili·ness noun
  • over·wily adjective
  • un·wily adjective

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Word History and Origins

Origin of wily1

Middle English word dating back to 1250–1300; wile, -y 1

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Example Sentences

So if omicron proves wily in evading the immune response the vaccines are supposed to generate, that would be another big problem.

From Vox

Viruses are wily, seeking out and infecting vulnerable hosts at all costs.

From Time

Scientists viewed even this modest degree of protection against such a wily virus as an important milestone.

The neutron’s lack of electric charge made it a particularly wily target.

Everyone loves the idea of Bugs Bunny always being the wily underdog who can do whatever he wants and can win.

As wily as his character when asked about it, Sheen proved himself to be a master of the media, feinting with a good sound bite.

Rick Wilson, a top Florida GOP political consultant, describes Rivera as “a wily character ... [who has] run out of tricks.”

He was wily and stylish enough to walk around the field scoring off defenders young enough to be his children.

If you have enough cash and are sufficiently wily, you can live off the grid.

“The mosquito is really wily, but the pathogen is even more wily,” she says.

By every art known to the wily Porter did he try to mislead his pursuers; but they hung on to his trail like grim death.

"Agreed," said Allcraft, almost before the wily Planner finished.

While Cavalier traveled, Fendant, the more wily of the two, managed the business.

The wily secretary advised his friend to put his affairs in order as soon as possible, and to be ready for any emergency.

This colorless face expressed patience, commercial shrewdness, and the sort of wily cupidity which is needful in business.





Wiltshire Hornwimble