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

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 They’ve been bedeviled by crippling new laws, and by a devastating U.S. Supreme Court decision just this week. Washington Post, "Despite setbacks and high court’s ruling, unions show spark," 28 June 2018 Modest wage gains have bedeviled Fed policy makers for some time. Michael S. Derby, WSJ, "Big Wage Gains Are Unlikely, San Francisco Fed Says," 14 Jan. 2019 This is another small film, made on a self-evidently low budget, that has a big imagination and is bedeviled by tough, urgent political questions. Dylan Scott, Vox, "13 found-footage horror movies actually worth watching this Halloween," 19 Oct. 2018 Uneven driver quality is already bedeviling some businesses. Michael Sasso,, "There aren't enough drivers to keep up with our delivery habit: 'There's more work than you can handle'," 13 June 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

13 Mar 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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a shady place in a garden or forest

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