Definition of wheedle in English:



  • Use endearments or flattery to persuade someone to do something or give one something.

    ‘she wheedled her way on to the guest list’
    [with object] ‘she had wheedled us into employing her brother’
    [with direct speech] ‘‘Please, for my sake,’ he wheedled’
    • ‘We do all the talking; we plead, wheedle, deny and cajole.’
    • ‘‘Lily really wants to get to know you better,’ Morgan wheedled.’
    • ‘Despite the best intentions, one is tempted to bargain for a more advantageous position, to make or demand concessions, to wheedle and to coax, to impose one's agenda and vocabulary.’
    • ‘A thousand bodies and they're already at the negotiating table with tails between their legs, probably wheedling and begging the resistance to pack it in.’
    • ‘He is at the same time bullying and wheedling, but will, when cornered, reiterate the anodyne phrases he picked up on the intensive salesman's course.’
    • ‘Foreign managers also tell of other problems: differing objectives or partners wheedling to get associates into key posts.’
    • ‘He wheedles that he was in Japan when it happened.’
    • ‘For much of the film, Emily courts embarrassment with wheedling, flirtatious attempts to stop the girl's uptight uncle from taking her back to the States.’
    • ‘Many of them command such skills as cajoling, wheedling, thundering, condescending, and even insulting - but, of course, insulting with style.’
    • ‘But then, 10 minutes later, he's still needling and wheedling so convincingly you start to flip-flop back to the earlier assumption that, self-effusing pretence or not, Alan Davies hates having his picture taken.’
    • ‘With the new cameras will come no mercy, no human face to wheedle, cajole, or insult.’
    • ‘‘I'll give you one of these grown-up sweets if you keep walking,’ I wheedle, proffering a Tune.’
    • ‘During all of this editorial project - all the boasting, praising, cajoling, and wheedling, indulging in witty asides - I've been staring fixedly into a computer screen.’
    • ‘Of course, she had no idea if she could talk her manager into stopping at some of these towns, but she could beg and wheedle and cajole if she had to.’
    • ‘We're meant to be talking about the phenomenon of plastic surgery and the potential risks it poses for patients, and instead I'm having my vital statistics wheedled out of me by a complete stranger.’
    • ‘The story probably continued with a bit more wheedling and pleading, but I wasn't really listening.’
    • ‘Roses voice was soft and wheedling, her smile saccharin sweet.’
    • ‘You view your employer more as an equal and you begin to think of ways that you can add value to your services instead of thinking of ways to wheedle more benefits from your feudal overlord.’
    • ‘The film-makers were busy on the lot or on location, but our producers, like Jacob, stayed in the tents, free to wheedle, convince and extort position from and in the studio system.’
    • ‘He wheedled with a smile to show that he wasn't too serious.’
    coax, cajole, inveigle, lure, induce, blarney, entice, charm, tempt, beguile, flatter, persuade, influence, sway, win someone over, bring someone round, prod, talk, convince, make, get, press, prevail on, get round, argue, reason, urge, pressure, pressurize, bring pressure to bear on, coerce
    sweet-talk, soft-soap, twist someone's arm, smooth-talk, butter someone up
    View synonyms


Mid 17th century: perhaps from German wedeln cringe, fawn, from Wedel tail, fan.