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)

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

Evers' proposal would have taxed both e-cigarette devices and fluids 71% of the manufacturer's list price. Lawrence Andrea, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Fewer people are smoking cigarettes, so state tax revenue is down. Now, Wisconsin will tax e-cigs.," 12 July 2019 For emergencies that outlast your stash, consider using iodine tablets, a pump or squeeze-bag water filter or other purification devices to treat water that may not be potable during an emergency. Mary Forgione,, "Packing an emergency kit? Think about using your camping gear," 12 July 2019 Technology giants’ push to open flashy stores to showcase their devices and software has proven to be one of the few bright spots for the UK’s ailing retail industry, which has been beset by bankruptcies, store closures, and rent cuts., "GE employees in Lynn reject contract," 11 July 2019 So the two emailed and Skyped back and forth, iterating on details like the length of the device and the size of the head. Matt Simon, WIRED, "The Strange Saga of the Butt Plug Turned Research Device," 11 July 2019 As lorries arrive at the loading bay, cargoes are measured digitally, with no manual entries or paper forms, to capture dimensions straight to handheld devices and the cloud. The Economist, "DigitisationDigitisation is helping to deliver goods faster," 11 July 2019 Most customers scored great deals on TVs and other home devices like the Amazon Echo and the Kindle Fire TV Stick. NBC News, "Amazon Prime Day deals have already started," 10 July 2019 The ballot measure would allow Juul to continue selling its popular vaping devices and nicotine cartridges in its hometown of San Francisco. Catherine Ho,, "Juul spends another $1 million on bid to overturn SF e-cigarette ban," 10 July 2019 For example, the pistol emoji looks like a real gun on some devices and a water or toy gun on others. Samantha Murphy Kelly, CNN, "Emojis are increasingly coming up in court cases. Judges are struggling with how to interpret them," 8 July 2019

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

17 Jul 2019

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 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

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on device

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with device

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for device

Spanish Central: Translation of device

Nglish: Translation of device for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of device for Arabic Speakers

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).


food or victuals

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Farm Idioms Quiz

  • cow coming home
  • What does 'poke' refer to in the expression 'pig in a poke'?
True or False

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


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!