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 bedevil (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 Forget ourselves, and so transcend these binaries that bedevil us? James Parker, The Atlantic, 3 May 2021 As Kean discovered, a legacy of Cold War paranoia and obstructionism continued to bedevil the U.F.O. issue. Gideon Lewis-kraus, The New Yorker, 30 Apr. 2021 Yet pro-independence parties were on track to stay in overall control, which will keep the flame of Scottish nationalism alive and ensure that the threat of Scotland’s breaking away will continue to bedevil the United Kingdom., 9 May 2021 But the approach is subject to the same ethical quandaries that bedevil other forms of engagement and soft power. Jerome Groopman, The New Yorker, 29 Mar. 2021 So many chronic problems bedevil this country, one of which is the morass known as immigration. Washington Post, 25 Mar. 2021 Freedom of Information Law requests seem to bedevil the governor. Alex Pareene, The New Republic, 24 Feb. 2021 Like many other millennials, Holmes is grappling with just the latest financial woe to bedevil his generation. Paul Davidson, USA TODAY, 18 Nov. 2020 The largest wildfire in Colorado history grew to more than 200,000 acres, officials said Monday, as other blazes continued to bedevil firefighters across the state. NBC News, 19 Oct. 2020

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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Time Traveler for bedevil

Time Traveler

The first known use of bedevil was in 1574

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Cite this Entry

“Bedevil.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 30 Jul. 2021.

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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 How to pronounce bedevil (audio) \
bedeviled; bedeviling

Kids Definition of bedevil

: to trouble or annoy again and again bedeviled by problems

More from Merriam-Webster on bedevil

Nglish: Translation of bedevil for Spanish Speakers


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