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 Far more of an ad's success is now based on smartphone layout and websites' device compatibility. Emilia Kirk, Forbes, "The Rise Of Contextual Advertising: An Introduction To The Modern Advertiser’s Gamechanger," 11 May 2021 The program is for one monthly service discount and one device discount per household, according to the FCC. Nushrat Rahman, Detroit Free Press, "New program offers $50 off monthly internet service: Here's who's eligible," 11 May 2021 But while adoption has increased, device owners tend to try fewer new activities over time, researchers said. Ann-marie Alcántara, WSJ, "Smart Speakers Go Beyond Waiting to Be Asked," 10 May 2021 The report said the car's lithium-ion battery case was damaged, and in the ensuing fire the infotainment system's onboard storage device was destroyed. Laura Sky Brown, Car and Driver, "NTSB, Investigating Tesla Crash, Says Model S Couldn't Have Been Using Autopilot," 10 May 2021 But is that why the pharmaceutical industry’s opinion of it has shifted from useful policy tool to venomous device? Dan Ollendorf, STAT, "Rather than turning its back on the QALY, pharma should collaborate on efforts to improve it," 9 May 2021 Food temperature measuring device shall be provided and readily accessible for use in ensuring attainment and maintenance of food temperature. Arkansas Online, "Jefferson County Food Safety reports for the week of 5-9-21," 9 May 2021 Most or even all of Amazon’s deep Amazon device discounts will likely disappear over the weekend, so this is your last chance to get in on the action. Maren Estrada, BGR, "Last chance to add Alexa to your car for just $25," 7 May 2021 The showdown pits the tech giant Google against the leading streaming device maker. Mike Snider, USA TODAY, "Google adding YouTube TV access to YouTube app 'over next few days,' as Roku standoff continues," 7 May 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

14 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Device.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 17 May. 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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