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

Keep scrolling for more

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

Attracted by these path-breaking technologies and the fortunes being made, the world’s best and brightest are feverishly working on the problems that bedevil the adoption of cryptocurrencies. Mark Zandi,, "Bitcoin is outpacing stocks but it's still a big bubble, Moodys' Mark Zandi warns," 22 Mar. 2018 But throughout this year, another Tesla narrative has arisen, one that originates with the short-sellers who have bedeviled Musk. Elizabeth Lopatto, The Verge, "Welcome to This Week in Elon," 31 Aug. 2018 Fog was bedeviling efforts to spot the whales Tuesday morning, and officials in Canada and the U.S. still did not know the pod’s location. Lynda V. Mapes, The Seattle Times, "Researchers fear it may be too late to save J50, the ailing baby killer whale," 7 Aug. 2018 This problem is not new: Slow wage growth bedeviled the Obama administration as well. Jeff Stein And Andrew Van Dam,, "For the biggest group of American workers, wages aren't flat. They're falling.," 16 June 2018 All-Star later Sunday, gave up a two-run homer to Eugenio Suarez and was bedeviled by Hamilton. Phil Rogers,, "David Bote's bases-loaded walk in 10th gives Cubs 6-5 win over Reds," 8 July 2018 And the company has recently been bedeviled by door-latch recalls — doors that could fly open while driving — now affecting several million vehicles and costing more than $600 million. Phoebe Wall Howard, USA TODAY, "Why Ford is hitching its future to trucks," 19 Mar. 2018 Lack of scale, says Herwin Bustaman, head of sharia banking at the Indonesian arm of Maybank, Malaysia’s biggest lender, bedevils all small banks, not just Islamic ones. The Economist, "The world’s biggest Muslim country wants to boost sharia finance," 10 May 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,, "50 years later, the St. Louis Arch emerges with a new name and a skeptical view of western expansion," 26 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.

See More

First Known Use of bedevil

1574, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about bedevil

Dictionary Entries near bedevil








Statistics for bedevil

Last Updated

4 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for bedevil

The first known use of bedevil was in 1574

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

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

Keep scrolling for more

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

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


to enclose within walls

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Late Autumn 2018 Words of the Day Quiz

  • frosted-autumn-leaves
  • Which is a synonym of yahoo?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

Dictionary Devil

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!