noun dev·il \ˈde-vəl dial ˈdi-\

the Devil : the most powerful spirit of evil in Christianity, Judaism, and Islam who is often represented as the ruler of hell

: an evil spirit

: a person who does bad things or causes trouble usually in a way that is not too serious

Full Definition of DEVIL

often capitalized :  the personal supreme spirit of evil often represented in Jewish and Christian belief as the tempter of humankind, the leader of all apostate angels, and the ruler of hell —usually used with the —often used as an interjection, an intensive, or a generalized term of abuse <what the devil is this?> <the devil you say!>
:  an evil spirit :  demon
a :  an extremely wicked person :  fiend
b archaic :  a great evil
:  a person of notable energy, recklessness, and dashing spirit; also :  one who is mischievous <those kids are little devils today>
:  fellow —usually used in the phrases poor devil, lucky devil
a :  something very trying or provoking <having a devil of a time with this problem>
b :  severe criticism or rebuke :  hell —used with the <I'll probably catch the devil for this>
c :  the difficult, deceptive, or problematic part of something <the devil is in the details>
Christian Science :  the opposite of Truth :  a belief in sin, sickness, and death :  evil, error
between the devil and the deep blue sea
:  faced with two equally objectionable alternatives
devil to pay
:  severe consequences —used with the <there'll be the devil to pay if we're late>

Examples of DEVIL

  1. She is a tricky devil, so be careful.
  2. Those kids can be little devils sometimes.
  3. He's such a lucky devil that he'll probably win the lottery someday.

Origin of DEVIL

Middle English devel, from Old English dēofol, from Late Latin diabolus, from Greek diabolos, literally, slanderer, from diaballein to throw across, slander, from dia- + ballein to throw; probably akin to Sanskrit gurate he lifts up
First Known Use: before 12th century

Related to DEVIL

Other Occult Terms

augury, censor, invocation, lucidity, metempsychosis, mojo, numinous, preternatural, weird, wraith


deviled or devilleddevil·ing or devil·ling \ˈde-və-liŋ, ˈdev-liŋ\

Definition of DEVIL

transitive verb
:  to season highly <deviled eggs>
:  tease, annoy

First Known Use of DEVIL


Other Food Terms

Reuben, calamari, chuck, curry, edamame, foie gras, hummus, leaven, nonpareil, peel

Rhymes with DEVIL

DEVIL Defined for Kids


noun dev·il \ˈde-vəl\

Definition of DEVIL for Kids

often cap :  the most powerful spirit of evil
:  an evil spirit :  demon, fiend
:  a wicked or cruel person
:  an attractive, mischievous, or unfortunate person <a handsome devil> <poor devils>
How to use a word that (literally) drives some people nuts.
Test your vocab with our fun, fast game
Ailurophobia, and 9 other unusual fears