devil

noun
dev·​il | \ ˈde-vᵊl How to pronounce devil (audio) , dialectal ˈdi-\

Definition of devil

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 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 what the devil is this?the devil you say!
2 : an evil spirit : demon
3a : an extremely wicked person : fiend
b archaic : a great evil
4 : a person of notable energy, recklessness, and dashing spirit also : one who is mischievous those kids are little devils today
5 : fellow usually used in the phrases poor devil, lucky devil
6a : something very trying or provoking having a devil of a time with this problem
b : severe criticism or rebuke : hell used with the I'll probably catch the devil for this
c : the difficult, deceptive, or problematic part of something the devil is in the details
8 Christian Science : the opposite of Truth : a belief in sin, sickness, and death : evil, error
between the devil and the deep blue sea
: faced with two equally objectionable alternatives
devil to pay
: severe consequences used with the there'll be the devil to pay if we're late

devil

verb
deviled or devilled; deviling or devilling\ ˈde-​və-​liŋ How to pronounce devilling (audio) , ˈdev-​liŋ \

Definition of devil (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to season highly deviled eggs
2 : tease, annoy

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Examples of devil in a Sentence

Noun

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.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The devil works hard, but Scooter Braun works harder. Bethonie Butler, Washington Post, "How Scooter Braun, the mogul embroiled in the Taylor Swift drama, became so powerful," 2 July 2019 And Mary Louise is the teeth-baring devil next door. Chloe Foussianes, Town & Country, "In Big Little Lies, Meryl Streep Gives Us the Villain Next Door," 30 June 2019 Molotschna’s women have experienced something unthinkable: men, acting like devils. Sarah Jones, The New Republic, "Miriam Toews’s Quiet Revolution," 26 June 2019 But tree lobsters—which include New Guinea’s thorny devil (Eurycantha calcarata) and the Lord Howe Island stick insect (Dryococelus australis)—are a glaring exception. Elizabeth Pennisi, Science | AAAS, "Thorny devils grow giant legs to pin rivals," 25 June 2019 Not far away, a bearded, sunglassed David Briggs — Young's producer — prowled the stage, palming a cigarette…and looking like the devil himself. Randy Lewis, latimes.com, "Elliot Roberts, who managed Neil Young, Joni Mitchell and Bob Dylan, dies at 76," 21 June 2019 Mother devils are kinder to the four survivors, carrying them around, attached to their teats, for a hundred days. Brian Handwerk, National Geographic, "'Bad moms' of the animal kingdom are only trying to survive," 10 May 2019 The devil works hard but Kris Jenner works harder pic.twitter.com/Y7qwZfSvoZ — rich and famous 🎇 (@silvervss) February 19, 2019 Kylie: Jordyn, is this true? Rachel Epstein, Marie Claire, "The Tristan Thompson and Jordyn Woods Cheating Drama Continues, and So Do the Memes," 20 Feb. 2019 Capricorns are represented by the devil in the tarot and these devilish sea goats can appear intimidating in their online profiles. Sophie Saint Thomas, Allure, "What Your Zodiac Sign Says About Your Online Dating Style," 6 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

They were served steak sandwiches, ham sandwiches, turkey sandwiches, deviled eggs, salads and fruit; local church groups baked pies, brownies and cookies. Bob Greene, WSJ, "A Soldier Never Forgets North Platte," 22 July 2018 Over time the bar became a restaurant where regulars would return day after day for a table d'hôte menu that might include boiled beef, jambalaya and deviled eggs in spicy remoulade sauce. Todd A. Price, NOLA.com, "Do you remember Maylie's? A lost New Orleans restaurant," 9 May 2018 The current menu includes samosas, curried Scotch egg, saag paneer pizza, chutney deviled eggs and peanut chicken tikka among its pub bites. Greg Morago, Houston Chronicle, "Queen Vic Pub to shutter mid-July," 6 July 2018 Buffalo deviled eggs, with Frank’s Hot Sauce and crumbled blue cheese. Ann Friedman, The Cut, "Not Everything Is a Side Hustle," 11 Jan. 2018 Top each deviled egg with a pickled shrimp and a sprig of fresh dill. Carrie Purcell, Country Living, "Deviled Eggs with Old Bay Shrimp," 4 Mar. 2014 Her deviled egg taco with beet greens salsa verde in a beet and corn tortilla is rightfully famous. Liz Biro, Indianapolis Star, "10 women who are absolutely killing it at Indianapolis restaurants," 7 Mar. 2018 Stray from the classic and try making bacon cheddar deviled eggs. Katie Workman, Detroit Free Press, "Recipe: No one can resist the temptation of classic deviled eggs," 31 Mar. 2018 Bernie’s Lunch & Supper: Brunch specials include pimiento-cheese deviled eggs, Scotch egg in the hole, fried ham chop and chocolate pot de creme. Grace Wong, chicagotribune.com, "50-plus Easter brunch spots in Chicago and suburbs," 20 Mar. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'devil.' 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 devil

Noun

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Verb

1787, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for devil

Noun

Middle English devel, from Old English dēofol, from Late Latin diabolus, from Greek diabolos, literally, slanderer, from diaballein to throw across, slander, from dia- + ballein to throw; probably akin to Sanskrit gurate he lifts up

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Statistics for devil

Last Updated

20 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for devil

The first known use of devil was before the 12th century

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More Definitions for devil

devil

noun

English Language Learners Definition of devil

: the most powerful spirit of evil in Christianity, Judaism, and Islam who is often represented as the ruler of hell
: an evil spirit
: a person who does bad things or causes trouble usually in a way that is not too serious

devil

noun
dev·​il | \ ˈde-vəl How to pronounce devil (audio) \

Kids Definition of devil

1 often capitalized : the most powerful spirit of evil
2 : an evil spirit : demon, fiend
3 : a wicked or cruel person
4 : an attractive, mischievous, or unfortunate person a handsome devil poor devils

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More from Merriam-Webster on devil

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with devil

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for devil

Spanish Central: Translation of devil

Nglish: Translation of devil for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of devil for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about devil

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appealing forcibly to the mind or reason

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