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

Definition of devilish

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

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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 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 Interested Michigan residents can request to book a stay at the devilish location beginning October 14 at 12 p.m. ET on Airbnb. Danielle Garrand, CBS News, "Spend a night as the "mayor" of Hell, just in time for Halloween," 30 Sep. 2020 In protest of his devilish concoctions, Toni goes on a hunger strike. Agya K. Aning, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Niche Book Bar brings Black literature to Milwaukee via bike while the owner plans a permanent shop," 15 Sep. 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.

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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

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Time Traveler for devilish

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for devilish

Last Updated

21 Dec 2020

Cite this Entry

“Devilish.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 Jan. 2021.

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More Definitions for devilish


How to pronounce devilish (audio)

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

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