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Origin uncertain. Perhaps continuing Middle English wedlen (to beg, ask for alms), from Old English wǣdlian (to be poor, be needy, be in want, beg), from Proto-Germanic *wēþlōną (to be in need), related to Old High German wādalōn (to wander, roam, rove).

More likely, borrowed from German wedeln (to wag one's tail), from Middle High German wedelen, a byform of Middle High German wadelen (to wander, waver, wave, whip, stroke, flutter), from Old High German wādalōn (to wander, roam, rove), ultimately from the same origin as the Old English word above.


  • (UK, US) IPA(key): /ˈʍiː.dəl/ (without the wine-whine merger)
  • (UK, US) IPA(key): /ˈwiː.dəl/ (with the wine-whine merger)
  • (file)


wheedle (third-person singular simple present wheedles, present participle wheedling, simple past and past participle wheedled)

  1. (transitive, intransitive) To cajole or attempt to persuade by flattery.
    • 1977, Geoffrey Chaucer (in modern translation), The Canterbury Tales ("The Wife of Bath's Tale"), Penguin Classics, p. 290:
      Though he had beaten me in every bone / He still could wheedle me to love.
    I'd like one of those, too, if you can wheedle him into telling you where he got it.
  2. (transitive) To obtain by flattery, guile, or trickery.
    • Congreve
      A deed of settlement of the best part of her estate, which I wheedled out of her.

Derived termsEdit



wheedle (plural wheedles)

  1. (archaic) A coaxing person.