Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun A stratagem or trick intended to deceive or ensnare.
  • noun A disarming or seductive manner, device, or procedure.
  • transitive verb To influence or lead by means of wiles; entice.
  • transitive verb To pass (time) agreeably.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun A Middle English form of while.
  • noun Same as wild, Weald (?).
  • To deceive; beguile; impose on.
  • To lure; entice; inveigle; coax; cajole.
  • To shorten or cause to pass easily or pleasantly, as by some diverting wile: in this sense probably confused with while.
  • noun A trick or stratagem; anything practised for insnaring or deception; a sly, insidious artifice.
  • noun Synonyms Manœuver, Stratagem, etc. See artifice.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun A trick or stratagem practiced for insnaring or deception; a sly, insidious; artifice; a beguilement; an allurement.
  • transitive verb rare To practice artifice upon; to deceive; to beguile; to allure.
  • transitive verb To draw or turn away, as by diversion; to while or while away; to cause to pass pleasantly.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun usually in the plural A trick or stratagem practiced for ensnaring or deception; a sly, insidious artifice
  • verb To entice or lure
  • verb Alternative spelling of while, "to pass the time".

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • noun the use of tricks to deceive someone (usually to extract money from them)

Etymologies

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Middle English wil, from Old North French, from Old Norse vēl, trick, or of Low German origin. V., sense 2, influenced by while.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle English wile, wyle, from Old English wīl ("wile, trick") and wiġle ("divination"), from Proto-Germanic *wīlan (“craft, deceit”) (from Proto-Indo-European *wei- (“to turn, bend”)) and Proto-Germanic *wigulan, *wihulan (“prophecy”) (from Proto-Indo-European *weik- (“to consecrate, hallow, make holy”)). Cognate with Icelandic vél, væl ("artifice, craft, device, fraud, trick").

Examples

  • I see the only way I'm going to get through this is to do what I used to call the wile-aways.

    And We Sell Apples 1977

  •   I see the only way I'm going to get through this is to do what I used to call the wile-aways.

    And We Sell Apples 1977

  • As for the song itself, when it gets going (i.e. after a warm-up of thirty of your seconds that I feel are unnecessarily long and thirty-secondish), it is very, very pleasant indeed, even though I do not know what 'wile' means.

    Drowned In Sound // Feed

  • As for the song itself, when it gets going (i.e. after a warm-up of thirty of your seconds that I feel are unnecessarily long and thirty-secondish), it is very, very pleasant indeed, even though I do not know what 'wile' means.

    Drowned In Sound // Feed

  • Den he tuhn on me lak a wile man an’ his eyes glitter an’ he say: ‘Good Gawd, Ah thought you’d unnerstan’ even ef nobody else din’!

    Gone with the Wind

  • Den he tuhn on me lak a wile man an’ his eyes glitter an’ he say: ‘Good Gawd, Ah thought you’d unnerstan’ even ef nobody else din’!

    Gone with the Wind

  • Den he tuhn on me lak a wile man an’ his eyes glitter an’ he say: ‘Good Gawd, Ah thought you’d unnerstan’ even ef nobody else din’!

    Gone with the Wind

  • Den he tuhn on me lak a wile man an’ his eyes glitter an’ he say: ‘Good Gawd, Ah thought you’d unnerstan’ even ef nobody else din’!

    Gone with the Wind

  • Den he tuhn on me lak a wile man an’ his eyes glitter an’ he say: ‘Good Gawd, Ah thought you’d unnerstan’ even ef nobody else din’!

    Gone with the Wind

  • And in that time, in a large cage of concrete and iron, Ben Bolt had exercised and recovered the use of his muscles, and added to his hatred of the two-legged things, puny against him in themselves, who by trick and wile had so helplessly imprisoned him.

    CHAPTER XXXIII

Comments

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  • the verb: making someone do what you want want using subtle or invisible methods (such as sexual charm). usually an action done by women to men.

    April 10, 2009

  • Any evidence for your claim?

    April 10, 2009

  • Well, I tried the old trusty google-off method, only to find myself foiled by the apparently rampant inability to spell. When I had typed as far as "feminine w" into google, it came back with its little helpful suggestion box, which offered the following hit numbers:

    wiles: 114K

    wipes: 129K

    whiles: 13.3 million

    masculine wiles: 36.1K

    masculine whiles: 5.0 million

    masculine window treatments 52K

    masculine wife: 2.4 million

    But there is some modest indication that women are wilier, oops - I obviously mean whilier - than men.

    April 10, 2009

  • "Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil."

    – Ephesians 6:11 (KJV)

    The Contemporary English Version (1999) renders this verse as follows:

    "Put on all the armor that God gives, so you can defend yourself against the devil's tricks."

    I prefer "wiles"; it's so much wilier.

    April 10, 2009

  • Sionnach, you didn't try "manly w." ;)

    And I kind of resent, also, the claim that using sexual charm to get what one wants applies more to women than to men. Especially since men are expected to be seducers, as if it's part of masculine nature (just as insulting in its own way), so that when women use the same techniques they are branded with a less-than-savory name.

    Then again, isn't that always the way...

    Signed, Wile E. Bear

    April 10, 2009

  • Webster via OneLook gives permissible verbal usage:

    Wile, v. t.

    1. To practice artifice upon; to deceive; to beguile; to allure. R. Spenser.

    2. To draw or turn away, as by diversion; to while or while away; to cause to pass pleasantly. Tennyson.

    April 10, 2009