Definition of guile in English:



  • Sly or cunning intelligence.

    ‘he used all his guile and guts to free himself from the muddle he was in’
    • ‘He played with power and guile, the bat appearing almost malleable in his hands as he guided the ball around the ground.’
    • ‘He's got a bit of nous, craft and guile and he can get hold of the ball and retain it.’
    • ‘A year of sidestepping problems and clever manipulations, backed by intelligence and guile.’
    • ‘So she used her guile and cunning to protect the tiny innocents: she adopted twins.’
    • ‘As always, the key to success in this business lies in the cunning use of guile.’
    • ‘Being able to think and reason the survival of the fittest wasn't just down to strength but also wits, guile and cunning.’
    • ‘Either way, it would clearly take all of the cunning and guile of an evil criminal mastermind to penetrate such online defences.’
    • ‘They seem to have got some grim kick out out of their cunning, duplicity, guile and secrecy.’
    • ‘Nor is it the case that a lack of intelligence is cosubstantial with a lack of guile.’
    • ‘With no obvious, or even hidden, weakness in his game, he plays intelligent tennis, crafting his points with care and guile.’
    • ‘He has also added a smattering of guile to his undoubted power.’
    • ‘We, the people, who were brought here in chains or by guile or deception or empty promises, were to provide labour.’
    • ‘Yet still their best opening owed everything to guile rather than guts.’
    • ‘You have to provide guile, craft and quality service through to your frontmen to open teams up at this level.’
    • ‘Smaller players can succeed through their guile and ingenuity.’
    • ‘They had much too much power, class and guile for this Irish side and won at a canter.’
    • ‘This is a franchise making strides, but it is still relying more on guile and guts than skill.’
    • ‘With little or no money, Strachan has applied guile and wiles to forging a unit where the team ethic is at its keenest.’
    • ‘He specializes in the reject, the marginal prospect who makes it with guts and guile.’
    • ‘Equally, he has the stamina, guile and composure both to make chances and work himself into positions to take them.’
    cunning, craftiness, craft, artfulness, art, artifice, wiliness, slyness, deviousness, shrewdness, canniness, ingenuity
    wiles, ploys, schemes, stratagems, manoeuvres, subterfuges, tricks, ruses
    deception, deceit, duplicity, underhandedness, double-dealing, trickiness, sharp practice, treachery, chicanery, fraud, skulduggery
    knavery, knavishness, management
    View synonyms


Middle English: from Old French, probably from Old Norse; compare with wile.