dev·​il·​ish | \ ˈde-vᵊl-ish How to pronounce devilish (audio) , ˈdev-lish \

Definition of devilish

1 : resembling or befitting a devil: such as
a : evil, sinister
b : mischievous, roguish a devilish grin
2 : extreme in a devilish hurry

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from devilish

devilish adverb
devilishly adverb
devilishness noun

Did You Know?

In the Septuagint, the Greek translation of the Old Testament, Satan is usually referred to as diabolos or “slanderer” (from the Greek verb diaballein, “to slander,” literally “to throw across”). But in the Greek New Testament, the Hebrew word, which is Satanas or Satan in its Greek form, is used as if it were the devil’s proper name. The older Latin translations of the Bible retain Greek diabolos as diabolus, but St. Jerome’s version, the Vulgate, calls the devil Satan. Both words were borrowed into Old English, and we now call this figure both Satan and the Devil. The derived form devilish first appears in the 15th century.

Examples of devilish in a Sentence

She was attracted by his devilish charm. There was a devilish look of mischief in her eyes.
Recent Examples on the Web Signs are increasingly pointing to Peter’s Pietro being Mephisto, the devilish big bad who, in the comics, provided the raw materials for Billy and Tommy from his soul -- only to absorb them back into his being, causing Wanda to go insane. Adam B. Vary,, "‘WandaVision’ episode 7: Monica and Agnes show their true colors and more burning questions," 19 Feb. 2021 Or connected to the possibly devilish Marvel baddie pulling the strings? Washington Post, "‘WandaVision’ on Disney Plus gives Marvel Studios its first true power couple," 15 Jan. 2021 But this year, the carnivorous marsupial with its devilish scream made a small comeback in the state of New South Wales on the country’s east coast. Cat Kutz, Smithsonian Magazine, "These Conservation Stories Prove 2020 Was Not All Bad News," 14 Dec. 2020 But a devilish comeuppance is in store for the elderly folks when they're haunted by a variety of disturbing specters. Brian Truitt, USA TODAY, "What to stream this weekend: Netflix's 'Mank,' Amazon's 'Sound of Metal,' Disney+'s 'Godmothered'," 4 Dec. 2020 Their belief system was reviled as devilish worship, and the colonists were quick to force Christianity on Native people. Debra Utacia Krol, The Arizona Republic, "After 400 years, Indigenous people reflect on the real story of the 'first Thanksgiving'," 25 Nov. 2020 The 14th hole, for example, is the only one on the property without a bunker, but its green is deceptively devilish. Bill Pennington, New York Times, "Count Tiger Woods Out? Not at Augusta National," 10 Nov. 2020 As youngsters, their father’s devilish disposition destroyed the family, leaving them emotionally scarred. Chancellor Agard,, "Helstrom boss, stars preview the thrills and chills in Marvel's new drama," 13 Oct. 2020 This tune, dotted with Roth’s patented milk-curdling screams, ended with the lead screamer striking a devilish pose at the stage’s end while being bathed in torrents of bilious green lights. Want more? The Enquirer, "From the archives: Van Halen rocked Cincinnati Gardens," 7 Oct. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'devilish.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of devilish

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for devilish

Middle English develyssh, from devel devil entry 1 + -yssh -ish

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about devilish

Time Traveler for devilish

Time Traveler

The first known use of devilish was in the 15th century

See more words from the same century

Statistics for devilish

Last Updated

25 Feb 2021

Cite this Entry

“Devilish.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 2 Mar. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLA Chicago APA Merriam-Webster

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for devilish



English Language Learners Definition of devilish

: evil and cruel
: showing a desire to cause trouble but in a way that is not serious


dev·​il·​ish | \ ˈde-və-lish How to pronounce devilish (audio) , ˈdev-lish \

Kids Definition of devilish

1 : evil and cruel

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on devilish

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


Test Your Vocabulary

February 2021 Words of the Day Quiz

  • squirrel in winter
  • Which is a synonym of perdure?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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