Definition of guile in English:


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  • Sly or cunning intelligence.

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


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