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 wily

Contemporary Examples of wily

Historical Examples of wily

  • I roused my energies, and the next time the wily Beadle summoned me, I went.

  • The stratagem of the wily savage was thus perfectly successful.

    King Philip

    John S. C. (John Stevens Cabot) Abbott

  • It was a time for confidences, and the wily Mrs. Dunn realized that fact.

    Cap'n Warren's Wards

    Joseph C. Lincoln

  • In marrying Ben Aboo, the wily Katrina imposed two conditions.

    The Scapegoat

    Hall Caine

  • It was a wily trap he had set me, worthy only of a trickster.

British Dictionary definitions for wily


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 wily

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

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper