guile

Use the noun guile for cunning, craftiness, and artful duplicity. Acting like you have a job on Wall Street when you're actually unemployed would take a lot of guile.

The noun guile has quite negative connotations, as it refers to the kind of knowledge and skill that can be used by comic book villains for evil and not good! People who have guile are also thought of as being wily (which is also a related word), sneaky, and deceitful. Those who are free of guile are pure and upstanding, and Henry David Thoreau affirms those feelings when he writes: "It is the work of a brave man surely, in whom there was no guile!"

Definitions of guile
  1. noun
    shrewdness as demonstrated by being skilled in deception
    synonyms: craft, craftiness, cunning, foxiness, slyness, wiliness
    see moresee less
    type of:
    astuteness, perspicaciousness, perspicacity, shrewdness
    intelligence manifested by being astute (as in business dealings)
  2. noun
    the quality of being crafty
    synonyms: craftiness, deceitfulness
    see moresee less
    type of:
    disingenuousness
    the quality of being disingenuous and lacking candor
  3. noun
    the use of tricks to deceive someone (usually to extract money from them)
    synonyms: chicane, chicanery, shenanigan, trickery, wile
    see moresee less
    types:
    dupery, fraud, fraudulence, hoax, humbug, put-on
    something intended to deceive; deliberate trickery intended to gain an advantage
    jugglery
    artful trickery designed to achieve an end
    goldbrick
    anything that is supposed to be valuable but turns out to be worthless
    type of:
    deceit, deception, dissembling, dissimulation
    the act of deceiving
Word Family
EDITOR’S CHOICE

Test prep from the experts

Boost your test score with programs developed by Vocabulary.com’s experts.

  • Proven methods: Learn faster, remember longer with our scientific approach.
  • Personalized plan: We customize your experience to maximize your learning.
  • Strategic studying: Focus on the words that are most crucial for success.

SAT/PSAT

$29.95
  • Number of words: 500+
  • Duration: 8 weeks or less
  • Time: 1 hour / week

TOEFL

$29.95
  • Number of words: 500+
  • Duration: 10 weeks or less
  • Time: 1 hour / week

ACT

$29.95
  • Number of words: 700+
  • Duration: 10 weeks
  • Time: 1 hour / week