be·​dev·​il | \ bi-ˈde-vəl How to pronounce bedevil (audio) , bē-\
bedeviled; bedeviling; bedevils

Definition of bedevil

transitive verb

1 : to possess with or as if with a devil
2 : to cause distress : trouble
3 : to change for the worse : spoil
4 : to confuse utterly

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Other Words from bedevil

bedevilment \ bi-​ˈde-​vəl-​mənt How to pronounce bedevilment (audio) , bē-​ \ noun

Examples of bedevil in a Sentence

The theory bedevils scientists, none of whom have been able to prove it true or false. The project has been bedeviled by problems since its inception.

Recent Examples on the Web

In a half-dozen countries across Central and Eastern Europe, hourly labor costs are shooting up by 9% or more a year, defying a trend of weak wage growth that has bedeviled many advanced economies for years. Tom Fairless, WSJ, "Labor Shortage Lifts Wages on Europe’s Eastern Flank," 27 Sep. 2018 Don’t look for the kind of Freedom Caucus revolts that bedeviled GOP Speakers John Boehner and Paul Ryan. The Editorial Board, WSJ, "The Secret of Pelosi’s Success," 25 Nov. 2018 Seventy years after Israel’s founding, images of victory and violence showcased the contradictions that bedevil the Jewish state. Washington Post, "Israel at 70: Contrasting images of victory and violence," 15 May 2018 Authorities’ mass-surveillance ambitions are bedeviled by unreliable and incomplete basic data, as well as incompatible datasets and systems developed by different companies, among other problems. Maya Wang, WSJ, "China’s Bumbling Police State," 26 Dec. 2018 This fact bedevils Brexit politics and points up a strategic error by free-market Brexit supporters. The Editorial Board, WSJ, "The Road to a Bad Brexit," 10 Dec. 2018 Yet this overwhelmingly Democratic stronghold continually bedevils even the most adept campaigns., "Kevin de León to Feinstein: 'Don't come back' to California without forcing a government shutdown over Dream Act," 31 Oct. 2017 That’s what has most bedeviled this effort from the start — even more than the specific substance of the land-use changes. Danny Westneat, The Seattle Times, "Political trouble was ‘baked into the cake’ of Seattle’s sweeping upzoning plan," 5 Dec. 2018 Democratic dissension on the budget and taxes The budget — and the surrounding debates around taxes and spending — is another problem that has bedeviled Murphy already, and similar issues are sure to trouble Democrats elsewhere. Andrew Prokop, Vox, "Democrats won 6 more state governments. New Jersey shows what they can do.," 21 Nov. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'bedevil.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of bedevil

1574, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Statistics for bedevil

Last Updated

8 May 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for bedevil

The first known use of bedevil was in 1574

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English Language Learners Definition of bedevil

: to trouble (someone or something) in a constant or repeated way : to cause repeated problems for (someone or something)


be·​dev·​il | \ bi-ˈde-vəl How to pronounce bedevil (audio) \
bedeviled; bedevils

Kids Definition of bedevil

: to trouble or annoy again and again bedeviled by problems

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More from Merriam-Webster on bedevil

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with bedevil

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for bedevil

Spanish Central: Translation of bedevil

Nglish: Translation of bedevil for Spanish Speakers

Comments on bedevil

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using a distributed computer network

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