What is Guile?
The word guile may date back as early as the 12th century, but is not very common in our vernacular today. At first it seemed to me this might mean “lies,” but there is more to it. Webster defines it as “deceitful cunning : duplicity.” This doesn’t get us very far unless we understand those words too:
- deceitful – having a tendency or disposition to deceive, not honest, deceptive, misleading
- cunning – dexterous or crafty in the use of special resources (as skill or knowledge) or in attaining an end, characterized by wiliness and trickery
- duplicity – contradictory doubleness of thought, speech, or action; especially : the belying of one’s true intentions by deceptive words or action
The word comes from the Middle English gile, from Anglo-French. It’s related to the Old English/French wigle or wigila, which refer to sorcery or witchcraft. It’s also related to the Old English word wil or wile, meaning a trick. [Read more…]