de·​vice | \ di-ˈvīs How to pronounce device (audio) \

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)

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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.
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Recent Examples on the Web Apps: Being able to access your password manager from any device with ease while also having it be secured was critical. Jason Cipriani, CNN Underscored, "The best password manager of 2021," 8 Apr. 2021 He got hit by an explosive one night, felt tingling in his fingertips and heat from the device, and got berated by young white protesters. oregonlive, "‘Overworked, overwhelmed and burned out’: Why Portland cops say they’re leaving in droves," 4 Apr. 2021 The case was brought by a man who received text messages from Facebook notifying him that an attempt had been made to log in to his account from a new device or browser. CBS News, "Facebook can keep texting you, Supreme Court says," 1 Apr. 2021 As if all that wasn’t bad enough, this particular application is also able to conceal its presence from the victim by hiding the icon from the device’s menu or app drawer. Andy Meek, BGR, "This new Android malware is so devious," 29 Mar. 2021 The idea is that users can quickly transfer data from one device to another, or share files with family and friends in a convenient way. David Nield, Wired, "How to Keep Nearby Strangers from Sending You Files," 28 Mar. 2021 There’s even an astrophotography machine that allows up to 10 users to connect wirelessly and download astro-photos from the machine directly to their device. Sarah Sekula, USA TODAY, "Astrotourism: These resorts will have you seeing stars," 25 Mar. 2021 This indicates that noise from the H1 device itself was minimal, compared to the fluctuations due simply to the finite number of measurements taken. Paul Smith-goodson, Forbes, "BMW Chooses Honeywell Model H1 Quantum Computer And Entropica Labs For Supply Chain Quantum Proof-Of-Concept," 19 Mar. 2021 The smart door lock controls your home's lock system from any device that features smart home integration. Better Homes & Gardens, "Frontpoint Home Security Review (2021)," 17 Mar. 2021

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.

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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

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Time Traveler for device

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for device

Last Updated

20 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Device.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 22 Apr. 2021.

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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 How to pronounce device (audio) \

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 How to pronounce device (audio) \

Medical Definition of device

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

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