- (usually in the plural) A trick or stratagem practiced for ensnaring or deception; a sly, insidious artifice
- He was seduced by her wiles.
(third-person singular simple present wiles, present participle wiling, simple past and past participle wiled)
- To entice or lure
- Alternative spelling of while, "to pass the time".
- Here's a pleasant way to wile away the hours.
The phrase meaning to pass time idly is while away. We can trace the meaning in an adjectival sense for while back to Old English, hwÄ«len "” passing, transitory. We also see it in the whilend "” temporary, transitory. But since wile away happens so often, it is now included in many dictionaries. As can be seen above, wile is a noun"”meaning (1) trickery, deception or (2) a disarming or seductive manner "” and as a verb meaning to entice or lure. None of these meanings has anything to do with idly passing time, so wile away doesn't make logical sense.
From Middle English wile, wyle, from Old English wÄ«l (“wile, trick") and wiÄ¡le (“divination"), from Proto-Germanic *wÄ«lÄ… (“craft, deceit") (from Proto-Indo-European *wei- (“to turn, bend")) and Proto-Germanic *wigulÄ…, *wihulÄ… (“prophecy") (from Proto-Indo-European *weik- (“to consecrate, hallow, make holy")). Cognate with Icelandic vÃ©l, vÃ¦l (“artifice, craft, device, fraud, trick").
- A surname.
- (rare) A male given name transferred from the surname.
Middle English wile, an occupational surname for a trapper or a nickname for a wily person.