devil's bit


Definition of devil's bit

: any of various plants with premorse rootstocks:
a or less commonly devil's bit scabious : scabious sense 1 especially : a common purple or white flowered scabious (Scabiosa succisa or Succisa pratensis) that is native to Europe but naturalized in eastern North America and that yields a blue dye from the leaves — compare woad
b : any of several New World blazing stars (such as Chamaelirium luteum, Liatris spicata, or Aletris farinosa) — compare button snakeroot, colicroot

Love words?

You must — there are over 200,000 words in our free online dictionary, but you are looking for one that’s only in the Merriam-Webster Unabridged Dictionary.

Start your free trial today and get unlimited access to America's largest dictionary, with:

  • More than 250,000 words that aren't in our free dictionary
  • Expanded definitions, etymologies, and usage notes
  • Advanced search features
  • Ad free!

History and Etymology for devil's bit

Middle English develesbite (translation of Medieval Latin morsus diaboli), from develes (genitive of devel devil) + bite, bitt bit, bite

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on devil's bit

What made you want to look up devil's bit? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


a period when something is suspended

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Summer 2019 Words of the Day Quiz

  • a-bowl-of-peach-sorbet-with-cut-peaches-next-to-it
  • Which is a synonym of desideratum?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!