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 is completely silent, odor-free, and non-toxic. Travel + Leisure, "The 11 Best Bug-zapping Lamps for Summer," 26 June 2020 One handheld device developed by Flex Force is a radio-frequency jammer that looks something like a speed gun to clock the velocity of a pitcher’s fastball. Abraham Mahshie, Washington Examiner, "Army announces first joint response to combating weaponized drones," 26 June 2020 The device has been in demo mode for the past year before it was introduced to the market. William Thornton |, al, "Birmingham security firm marketing semi-autonomous robot guards," 25 June 2020 Kamen sold Segway in 2009 after the device failed to reach stratospheric success, and it’s now owned by Chinese company Ninebot. David Z. Morris, Fortune, "The Segway rolls into the sunset," 23 June 2020 Instead, nominees — eight in each of the 2019-2020 winter sports seasons — will be presented by celebrity athletes during the on-demand broadcast, which can be watched using any desktop or smart device. Keith Dunlap, Detroit Free Press, "Detroit Free Press Sports Awards: Meet the gymnastics nominees," 16 June 2020 The show premieres at 6 p.m. CT on June 18 and is free to watch using any desktop or smart device on our website: Usa Today High School Sports, USA TODAY, "How to watch the Dallas - USA TODAY High School Sports Awards on-demand show on June 18," 16 June 2020 The internet-only broadcast can be viewed on any desktop or smart device at the show's website. Mark Stewart, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "It's time for Journal Sentinel High School Sports Awards. Here is what you need to know.," 16 June 2020 The show premieres at 6 p.m. local time on June 18 and is free to watch using any desktop or smart device on our website: Mark Faller, azcentral, "How to watch azcentral Sports Awards On-Demand Show on June 18," 15 June 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

30 Jun 2020

Cite this Entry

“Device.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 9 Jul. 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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