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Definition of 'wily'

Clever, cunning, and skilled at using deceit or manipulation to achieve their goals.
"He was a wily salesman, able to talk people into buying things they didn't need."

Detailed Meaning of 'wily'

When we characterize someone as wily, we emphasize their ability to think and act shrewdly, often with a keen awareness of how to outsmart others. Wily individuals are adept at navigating complex situations, devising strategic plans, and adapting to changing circumstances to their advantage. This term conveys a sense of resourcefulness and a talent for finding creative solutions, even if those solutions involve a degree of trickery or subterfuge. Whether it's a wily negotiator, a wily strategist, or a wily character in literature or film, this adjective underscores their ability to outwit and outmaneuver others through cunning and astute thinking.


Examples of 'wily' in a Sentence

1. The wily fox was always able to elude the farmer's traps.
2. With his wily wit, Jack was able to persuade the audience to his point of view.
3. She was a wily politician, known for her strategic maneuvers.
4. His wily tactics won the chess tournament.
5. Despite the police's efforts, the wily thief was still at large.
6. The wily salesman convinced me to buy an unnecessary extended warranty.

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Origins & Etymology of 'wily'

The adjective 'wily' has its etymological roots in Old English and Middle English. It is derived from the Old English word 'wil,' which meant 'clever' or 'cunning.' In Middle English, it evolved into 'wily' with the same sense of cleverness and cunning. The term 'wily' typically describes someone who is skilled at using deceit or manipulation to achieve their goals. Its etymology reflects its long-standing association with clever and shrewd behavior, often involving a degree of craftiness or guile to outsmart others.

How to pronounce wily (audio)


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