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 These days, tracking and data mining extends way beyond a single browser and a single device. David Nield, Wired, "Incognito Mode May Not Work the Way You Think It Does," 2 Aug. 2020 To date, Apple hasn’t launched a mobile device to take advantage of the emerging 5G wireless standard that offers much faster speeds and other benefits. Marc Saltzman, USA TODAY, "Rumors are swirling online about the upcoming Apple iPhone 12 models," 1 Aug. 2020 Can a seltzer-making company build a better device to help COVID patients breathe? Kartikay Mehrotra, Fortune, "Instacart shoppers are battling order-grabbing bots," 1 Aug. 2020 The tracers are returned when the employee leaves the building for the day and are placed in a device that charges and sanitizes them overnight. David Moore, Dallas News, "Plexiglass, trackers and high-tech laundry: From Jerry Jones on down, rigorous COVID-19 protocols await Cowboys," 1 Aug. 2020 This one—named Smoky—had double the explosive power of the bomb used on Nagasaki, also a plutonium device. Jeremy Bernstein, WSJ, "‘The Apocalypse Factory’ Review: Before and After the Bomb," 31 July 2020 Clark was given several charges, including one count of organized fraud, 17 counts of communications fraud, 10 counts of fraudulent use of personal information, and one count of access to a computer or electronic device without authority. Madison Dibble, Washington Examiner, "Florida teenager arrested in connection to Twitter hack targeting Barack Obama, Elon Musk, and others," 31 July 2020 Another way to exfoliate is using a dermaplaning device like Dermaflash (or an eyebrow razor). Bella Cacciatore, Glamour, "Dolphin Skin Is Summer’s Glowiest Skin Trend, and I Tried It," 30 July 2020 The officer pulled a metal pen-like device from his pocket and shoved one end into the back of Mitina’s hand and again told her to open her hand, the video said. Cory Shaffer, cleveland, "Parma mother says police used excessive force after accusing her of recording cellphone video of child custody exchange," 30 July 2020

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

5 Aug 2020

Cite this Entry

“Device.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 6 Aug. 2020.

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More Definitions for device


How to pronounce device (audio)

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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More from Merriam-Webster on device

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for device

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with device

Spanish Central: Translation of device

Nglish: Translation of device for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of device for Arabic Speakers

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