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 The device releases soapy water when hands or other items came in contact with a sensor stored underneath the faucet. Aj Willingham, CNN, "All The Good Stuff that happened this week," 16 May 2020 The device had been installed inside the pump and wasn’t visible from the outside. Bob Sandrick, cleveland, "Customer spits at liquor store owner; man found lying on Pickaway Drive: Brook Park Police Blotter," 15 May 2020 That means sacrificing the device’s quick turnaround time... Christopher Weaver, WSJ, "Abbott Will Change Coronavirus Test Instructions for Second Time," 15 May 2020 While many of the device’s specifications have been surpassed by newer technology at this point, the iPhone SE does use the same A13 processor as the latest flagship iPhone. Mark Gurman,, "Apple Launches New Cheap iPhone to Boost Sales Ahead of 5G Model," 15 May 2020 The compact device is strong enough to purify up to 319 square feet and offers a variety of control settings. Braelyn Wood,, "Air Quality Sensor Will Alert Your Household to Pollution—and Fix The Issue," 14 May 2020 But the complaint said a child who initially registered for a TikTok account for younger users could instantly delete it and sign up for an over-13 account on the same mobile device simply by using a fake birth date. Natasha Singer, New York Times, "TikTok Broke Privacy Promises, Children’s Groups Say," 14 May 2020 As soon as used iPads are received by mail, volunteers, like 29-year-old Ian Kaplan, work to ensure the devices are properly reset and fit for donation. Fox News, "Human contact during coronavirus: Artist captures group's efforts to unite families through donated iPads," 9 May 2020 The homemade heat-resistant device used to measure propulsion pressure in the experiment. Caroline Delbert, Popular Mechanics, "Wait, Could Plasma Thrusters Really Replace Jet Engines?," 7 May 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

21 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Device.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 29 May. 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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