be·dev·il | \bi-ˈde-vəl, 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, 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

The name change, however, also reflects two facts that have long bedeviled the arch and its role within the National Park Service. Philip Kennicott,, "50 years later, the St. Louis Arch emerges with a new name and a skeptical view of western expansion," 26 June 2018 The name change, however, also reflects two facts that have long bedeviled the arch and its role within the National Park Service. Philip Kennicott, kansascity, "St. Louis’ Gateway Arch emerges with new name, skeptical view of western expansion," 3 July 2018 But the company was back in the news this week for an ad that strikes at the heart of an issue bedeviling European borders: migration. Ceylan Yeginsu, New York Times, "Benetton ‘Migrants’ Ads Draw Outrage for Using Photos of Real Migrants," 21 June 2018 Will Belgium continue with the 4-3-3 that bedeviled Brazil? Brian Straus,, "Ties That Bind World Cup Semifinal Foes France, Belgium Go Beyond Thierry Henry," 9 July 2018 As the Earp heir, Wynonna is fated to protect the hamlet of Purgatory — and the world — from the demons that bedevil the town. Maureen Ryan, New York Times, "A Cult Show’s Recipe for Success: Whiskey, Twitter and Complex Women," 6 July 2018 Perhaps the larger dilemma that bedevils New America is the problem faced by so many centrist and non-partisan institutions in the Trump era. Jeet Heer, The New Republic, "CEO of Google-funded think tank argues “Google is a person.”," 25 June 2018 Officials have called for more region-wide governance, a welcome change from the municipal turf battles that have bedevilled China. The Economist, "China is trying to turn itself into a country of 19 super-regions," 21 June 2018 The claim is the latest in a string of maneuvers that have bedeviled Trump and Cohen. NBC News, "Michael Avenatti: Two more women may have deals with Trump," 17 May 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

25 Sep 2018

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Time Traveler for bedevil

The first known use of bedevil was in 1574

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More Definitions for bedevil



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 \
bedeviled; bedevils

Kids Definition of bedevil

: to trouble or annoy again and again bedeviled by problems

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