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noun dev·il \ˈde-vəl dial ˈdi-\

Simple Definition of devil

  • 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

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of devil

  1. 1 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!>

  2. 2 :  an evil spirit :  demon

  3. 3 a :  an extremely wicked person :  fiend b archaic :  a great evil

  4. 4 :  a person of notable energy, recklessness, and dashing spirit; also :  one who is mischievous <those kids are little devils today>

  5. 5 :  fellow —usually used in the phrases poor devil, lucky devil

  6. 6 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>

  7. 7 :  dust devil

  8. 8 Christian Science :  the opposite of Truth :  a belief in sin, sickness, and death :  evil, error

between the devil and the deep blue sea
  1. :  faced with two equally objectionable alternatives

devil to pay
  1. :  severe consequences —used with the <there'll be the devil to pay if we're late>

Examples of devil in a sentence

  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



verb, dev·il

Definition of devil

deviled or devilleddeviling or devilling \ˈde-və-liŋ, ˈdev-liŋ\

  1. transitive verb
  2. 1 :  to season highly <deviled eggs>

  3. 2 :  tease, annoy


First Known Use of devil


Rhymes with devil

DEVIL Defined for Kids


noun dev·il \ˈde-vəl\

Definition of devil for Students

  1. 1 often cap :  the most powerful spirit of evil

  2. 2 :  an evil spirit :  demon, fiend

  3. 3 :  a wicked or cruel person

  4. 4 :  an attractive, mischievous, or unfortunate person <a handsome devil> <poor devils>

Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up devil? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to dishevel or rumple

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