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

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 With data, the devil is in the defaults - companies know a vanishingly small number of people will ever adjust settings. Anchorage Daily News, "The spy in your wallet: Credit cards have a privacy problem," 2 Sep. 2019 With data, the devil is in the defaults — companies know a vanishingly small number of people will ever adjust settings. Geoffrey A. Fowler, The Denver Post, "The spy in your wallet: Credit cards have a privacy problem," 31 Aug. 2019 The devil, a smooth-talking salesman, happens to be in the area, shopping for souls in a dysfunctional noble family. Matt Cooper, Los Angeles Times, "Theater in L.A. this week: Idina Menzel in ‘Skintight’ at the Geffen and more," 8 Sep. 2019 When your own team want to hate but there’s no stopping me now devil is a lie. Ann Killion, SFChronicle.com, "Disaster scenario? Antonio Brown hijacking Raiders’ season before it begins," 5 Sep. 2019 Giants starting pitcher Dereck Rodriguez delivered what seemed to be a devil of a 2-2 pitch to Cardinals shortstop Paul DeJong — a heat-seeker headed right for handle of DeJong’s bat. Gary Peterson, The Mercury News, "Cardinals’ ‘Twilight Zone’ single baffles Giants; payback for Pence?," 4 Sep. 2019 An angel on my shoulder, the devil in my head — that certainly defined my predicament … music saved my life that night. Mary Ann Grossmann, Twin Cities, "Good reads, good-bye dwindling summer — Ellen Hart’s latest Jane Lawless mystery and a moving memoir," 25 Aug. 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

12 Oct 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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