Middle English Dictionary Entry

wīle n.(1)
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Entry Info

Definitions (Senses and Subsenses)

Note: Cp. gile n.(3).
(a) An act of deceit, a deception, trick; an underhanded scheme, a subterfuge; a plot, machination; also, a clever maneuver, tactic, cunning strategy; also person. [quot. c1400(?a1387)]; ~ and wrench, wiles and giles, wrenches and wiles, etc.; (b) in selected verb phrases: casten (maken, shapen, thinken) ~, bithinken upon (umthinken of) ~, to devise a stratagem, hatch a scheme, think up a trick, formulate a cunning plan; don (werken) ~, engage in a deception, play a trick; also, perform a remarkable maneuver [quot. a1450(a1338)]; droppen wiles, conceive or produce tricks; pleien wiles, approach a subject obliquely, proceed by indirection; speken (tellen) wiles, dissemble, tell lies; usen ~, employ an ingenious strategy or method; also, resort to a ruse [quot. c1475]; wanten no wiles, ?lack no stratagems; (c) ?an ingenious device, a cunning contrivance.
(a) Wiliness, trickiness, guilefulness; also, deviousness, cleverness; ~ and malice (might), gile (malice) and ~, etc.; wiles crok, a stratagem of deceit; (b) pl. deceitful ways, duplicitous tendencies [sometimes difficult to distinguish from sense 1.(a)]; wiles of wommen, feminine wiles, women’s deceitful charms.