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

transitive verb

: to possess with or as if with a devil
: to cause distress : trouble
: to change for the worse : spoil
: to confuse utterly
bedevilment 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 These tumors have bedeviled researchers for decades. Jason Mast, STAT, 1 Apr. 2024 The young men of the Haredim, as they are known in Hebrew, are in all practical terms exempt from mandatory military services – an issue that has bedeviled Israeli society since the country’s founding. Mick Krever, CNN, 29 Mar. 2024 Underlining the joy of the day was exhaustion from the long and trying journey that led up to it, a saga of desperate relatives navigating a mental health system bedeviled by roadblocks and inconsistencies and, at key moments, brightened by dedicated public servants. Doug Smith, Los Angeles Times, 1 Mar. 2024 The weakest link of Tshisekedi’s presidency was the persistence of insecurity in Congo’s east, a problem that has bedeviled the area since the mid-1990s. Mvemba Phezo Dizolele, Foreign Affairs, 19 Jan. 2024 That exemption has bedeviled Israeli society since its founding. Mick Krever, CNN, 8 Mar. 2024 Yet even as the state ramped up spending, corruption bedeviled its military. Daniel Block, The Atlantic, 19 Dec. 2023 This is a question that has bedeviled contestants on Survivor pretty much since the show began back in the summer of 2000. Dalton Ross,, 28 Sep. 2023 Junior wins this race in his fifth try, the same race that bedeviled his later father for 19 years. 2010 — American Seth Wescott defends his Olympic title in Vancouver, British Columbia, overtaking Canada’s Mike Robertson to win the gold medal in the wild sport of men’s snowboardcross. Houston Mitchell, Los Angeles Times, 15 Feb. 2024

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'bedevil.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1574, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of bedevil was in 1574

Dictionary Entries Near bedevil

Cite this Entry

“Bedevil.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 19 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition


be·​dev·​il bi-ˈdev-əl How to pronounce bedevil (audio)
: to trouble or annoy again and again : pester, harass
bedeviled by problems
bedevilment noun

More from Merriam-Webster on bedevil

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