often capitalized: the personal supreme spirit of evil often represented in Christian belief as the tempter of humankind, the leader of all apostate angels, and the ruler of hell—usually used with the—often used as an interjection, an intensive, or a generalized term of abuse
She is a tricky devil, so be careful.
Those kids can be little devils sometimes.
He's such a lucky devil that he'll probably win the lottery someday.
Recent Examples on the Web
Maybe the Rocket can invite Jonny over to ask him a question about his outing like the old days.
Angels having devil of a time
The Angels bid to keep Shohei Ohtani has been a disaster.—Peter Abraham, BostonGlobe.com, 2 Sep. 2023 Members can be categorized as managers, devils, demons, wizards, masters, and knights.—Matt Burgess, WIRED, 14 Aug. 2023 The salamander has many different nicknames, none of them very charming — from mud devil or devil dog to snot otter and lasagna lizard.—Karl Schneider, The Indianapolis Star, 17 Aug. 2023 But there really are devils in the details, including long layovers and inconvenient flight times.—Scott McMurren, Anchorage Daily News, 13 Aug. 2023 Before Hemsworth and Pataky reintroduced the little marsupials to Australia, the last time a Tasmanian devil set a paw on Australia's mainland had been over 3,000 years ago.—Ingrid Vasquez, Peoplemag, 17 May 2023 Dan Shaughnessy and Ben Volin play devil's advocateShare Dan Shaughnessy and Ben Volin play devil's advocate.—Ben Volin, BostonGlobe.com, 12 May 2023 But some brands do keep cake in the equation: Baskin-Robbins’ ice cream cakes come with one layer of chocolate or vanilla cake per tier, and Cold Stone Creamery includes your pick of devil’s food cake, yellow cake, or red velvet cake plus ice cream.—Zoe Denenberg, Bon Appétit, 5 Aug. 2023 Bon Appétit called the Portland original one of the 10 best doughnut shops in the country in 2010, the kind of place where one customer can get a simple blueberry cake doughnut while another can spring for devil’s food cake dusted with cayenne pepper and cinnamon sugar.—Sarah Blaskovich, Dallas News, 11 July 2023
Thus, dinner at Speak is a mix of their fancy-food greatest hits, like bone marrow bruschetta ($18), lobster deviled eggs ($18), and a Caesar or wedge salad ($12 or $14).—Sarah Blaskovich, Dallas News, 23 June 2023 Devil facial tumor disease is passed from devil to devil through physical contact.—Katie Jewett, Discover Magazine, 16 Aug. 2018 Starters: baby iceberg wedge lettuce; burrata cheese with prosciutto ham, balsamic reduction and micro basil; pimento cheese deviled eggs with Kentucky chow-chow and mixed greens; baked crab cake served over bib lettuce with Julienne apples and smoky garlic aioli; soup de jour.—The Courier-Journal, 5 Apr. 2023 It’s also designed to better accommodate female astronauts, a problem that has deviled the space agency in the past.—Tim Fernholz, Quartz, 16 Mar. 2023 So understanding the strange tricks that devil facial tumor disease, or DFTD, has evolved to ensure its survival should shed new light on cancer writ large.—Julie Rehmeyer, Discover Magazine, 31 Mar. 2014 Highlights include a variety of cheese, smoked salmon, prosciutto, deviled egg salad, biscuits, bagels and baguettes and cinnamon rolls.—Los Angeles Times, 4 May 2020 For $60, the family-sized meal includes a savory galette, homemade brioche with plum jam and French butter, Bayonne ham and pickles, miso deviled eggs, fresh fruit and a spring salad with wine and Bloody Mary or mimosa kits available for extra.—Michael Russell, oregonlive, 6 May 2020 Those eggs now can be transformed into egg salad and deviled eggs.—oregonlive, 8 Apr. 2020 See More
These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'devil.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.
Middle English devel, del, dule, going back to Old English dēofol, dīoful, going back to West Germanic *diuvul- (whence also Old Frisian diūvel, diōvel, Old Saxon diuƀal, Middle Dutch duvel, Old High German tiuval, tiufal), probably borrowed from an early Romance outcome of Late Latin diabolus "the Devil," borrowed from Greek diábolos (New Testament, Septuagint, as a rendering of Hebrew śāṭānsatan), earlier, "accuser, backbiter, slanderer," agentive derivative of diabállein "to take across, put through, set at variance, attack (a person's character), accuse, slander," from dia-dia- + bállō, bállein "to reach by throwing, let fly, strike, put, place," going back to earlier *gwəl-n-ō or *gwəl-i̯-ō, perhaps going back to an Indo-European base *gwelh1-
The standard English pronunciation of devil with the outcome of a short vowel presumably reflects shortening of the Old English dipththong -ēo-/-īo- in syncopated forms, as the nominative plural dēoflas. The early Modern English form divel (as in Shakespeare), preserved in regional and dialectal speech in both Britain and the U.S., shows Middle English shortening of original ẹ̄ to i. Forms such as Middle English dele and early Scots dele show loss of v before a syllable ending in a liquid. — Greek bállein and its many prefixed forms are rich in nominal derivatives, usually with o-grade (as in diábolos, perhaps secondarily agentive, after the adjective diábolos "slanderous, backbiting") or with zero grade blē- (going back to *gwl̥h1-C-). That the original consonant was a labiovelar is assured by the Arcadian form esdellō, with e-grade, corresponding to Greek ekballō "expel, let fall." Despite its thoroughly Indo-European formal properties, bállein has no certain cognates outside Greek.