de·vice | \di-ˈvīs \

Definition of device 

1 : something devised or contrived: such as

a(1) : plan, procedure, technique a marketing device mnemonic devices

(2) : a scheme to deceive : stratagem, trick

b : something fanciful, elaborate, or intricate in design

c : something (such as a figure of speech) in a literary work designed to achieve a particular artistic effect irony and other literary devices a plot device

d archaic : masque, spectacle

e : a conventional stage practice or means (such as a stage whisper) used to achieve a particular dramatic effect

f : a piece of equipment or a mechanism designed to serve a special purpose or perform a special function smartphones and other electronic devices a hidden recording device

2 : desire, inclination left to my own devices

3 heraldry : an emblematic design used especially as a heraldic bearing (see bearing sense 4)

Keep scrolling for more

Examples of device in a Sentence

The store sells TVs, VCRs, and other electronic devices. agreeing to dismantle all nuclear devices a useful mnemonic device for remembering the names of the planets The company's method of tracking expenses is just a device to make it seem more profitable.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web

There have been a few other applications of the device. John Wenz, Popular Mechanics, "Standing on Other Planets Is the Killer App for Augmented Reality," 9 July 2018 Specs of the device popped up years later, showing a tablet less powerful than the Go announced today. Rachel Lerman, The Seattle Times, "Microsoft unveils smaller, cheaper Surface tablet," 9 July 2018 Polar is a Finish company that produces a variety of smart devices, including the Polar Balance smart scale, the M600 smartwatch, and M430 running watch, all of which are connect to the company’s fitness app, Polar Flow. Andrew Liptak, The Verge, "Polar Fitness suspends its global activity map after privacy concerns," 8 July 2018 The one noise missing was the beep beep of mobile devices. Helena Oliviero, ajc, "Plan your trip: A guide to the Okefenokee swamp," 2 July 2018 More than 190 million people use a Xiaomi device every month. Charlie Cambell/beijing, Time, "Lei Jun Wants to Be China’s Answer to Steve Jobs. But Trump’s Trade War Is Getting In His Way," 12 July 2018 One method to treat discolored water is purchasing a home water-treatment device, the report recommends. Michael Livingston,, "Water quality report offers solutions to inconvenient troubles," 11 July 2018 Getting such a small device the power to run a full version of Windows took some fine tuning, said Pete Kyriacou, Microsoft’s program manager for the Surface. Hayley Tsukayama,, "Microsoft Shrinks The Surface To A Purse-Friendly Size," 11 July 2018 Sony Lots of companies seem to think their phones are the best for content consumption, and that’s a fine way to market a device. Ashley Carman, The Verge, "Sony announces its Xperia XA2 Plus, a phone to ‘entertain’," 11 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'device.' 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 device

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for device

Middle English devis, devise, from Anglo-French, division, plan, from deviser to divide, regulate, tell — more at devise

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about device

Statistics for device

Last Updated

9 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for device

The first known use of device was in the 14th century

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for device



English Language Learners Definition of device

: an object, machine, or piece of equipment that has been made for some special purpose

: a weapon that explodes

: something that is done in order to achieve a particular effect


de·vice | \di-ˈvīs \

Kids Definition of device

1 : a piece of equipment made for a special purpose electronic devices

2 : choice of what to do We were left to our own devices.

3 : a thing or act used to deceive : trick


de·vice | \di-ˈvīs \

Medical Definition of device 

: a piece of equipment or a mechanism designed to serve a special purpose or perform a special function

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on device

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


lying above or upon

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words from Greek and Roman Mythology Quiz

  • the-triumph-of-venus-by-alessandro-magnasco
  • Boreal comes from the name of the ancient Greek god of which wind?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

Word Winder's CrossWinder

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!