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 abusewhat 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 theI'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 thethere'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

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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 here will definitely be in the details — and some analysts think those won't come until the October meeting, leaving investors in the lurch. Julia Horowitz, CNN, "Everyone's watching Mario Draghi and the European Central Bank," 12 Sep. 2019 Other artists in the show use a similarly meticulous brand of realism to depict minutely detailed flowers, birds and insects in the margins around scenes of saints in armor spearing dragons and devils. Steven Litt, cleveland.com, "‘Medieval Monsters’ exhibit at Cleveland Museum of Art surveys images used to inspire fear, hatred and wonder," 1 Sep. 2019 At the core of the play is the relationship between Sawyer and Scratch (Evan Jonigkeit), the alluring devil who one strange day appears in her hovel. Jordan Riefe, The Hollywood Reporter, "'Witch': Theater Review," 30 Aug. 2019 Deficit fearmongering and stringent anti-spending ideology were in; devil-may-care tax-cutting was out. Matthew Yglesias, Vox, "Thursday’s budget deal proves once again Republicans never cared about the deficit," 1 Aug. 2019 Cleanliness is next to godliness, and after all, there are only devils here. Kim Kelly, Allure, "Angels With Dirty Faces," 12 July 2019 The devil in Sylvia Townsend Warner’s 1926 novel, Lolly Willowes, is more understanding than any man. Longreads, "Demonology: A Woman’s Right to Fury," 10 June 2019 When your own team want to hate but there’s no stopping me now devil is a lie. Rachel Desantis, PEOPLE.com, "What to Know About Antonio Brown Following Rape Allegation, His Trade to the Patriots," 11 Sep. 2019 This WeWork IPO and headline valuation is a classic example of the devil being in the details because their anchor investors have prefs. Polina Marinova, Fortune, "Is the ‘Code Red’ Recession Indicator Simply a False Alarm?: Term Sheet," 10 Sep. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Things like chicken-fried deviled eggs spiked with bacon. Mike Sutter, ExpressNews.com, "Review: Lucy Cooper’s Ice House at the top of San Antonio’s bar food scene," 12 Sep. 2019 Normal, everyday deviled eggs with seasoned salt, until caviar showed up as an indulgent $30 add-on. Mike Sutter, ExpressNews.com, "Review: Fontaine’s Southern Diner & Bar finds 2-star comfort zone near the Pearl," 29 Aug. 2019 The group has become friends through the yearlong process, and recently gathered for an avocado-themed potluck, complete with homemade avocado ice cream, avocado cream pie and avocado deviled eggs. Julia Wick, Los Angeles Times, "Newsletter: The quest for a more perfect California avocado," 26 July 2019 There are the classics like ham and deviled eggs but creative cooks can also whip up something a little different for adventurous eaters. Fox News, "12 Easter dinner dishes for a super Sunday," 21 Mar. 2016 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

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

26 Oct 2019

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
How to pronounce devil (audio)

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

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for devil

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with 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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