devilish

adjective

dev·​il·​ish ˈde-vᵊl-ish How to pronounce devilish (audio)
ˈdev-lish
1
: resembling or befitting a devil: such as
a
b
: mischievous, roguish
a devilish grin
2
: extreme
in a devilish hurry
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 Newcomers include Aaron Pierre, who voices the titular role, and Kelvin Harrison Jr., who voices the devilish character Scar. Pamela McClintock, The Hollywood Reporter, 11 Apr. 2024 The devilish Goblin King gave protagonist Sarah (Jennifer Connelly) 13 hours to break free of his supernatural maze in order to save her infant half-brother, Toby. Marc Bernardin, EW.com, 11 Mar. 2024 The Prank is filled with thrills and laughs, but Rita's deliciously devilish performance is not to be missed. Sabienna Bowman, Peoplemag, 5 Mar. 2024 His aspect was almost devilish—hard stare, bouffant hair, sideline scowl, and the occasional sinuous smile. Louisa Thomas, The New Yorker, 13 Jan. 2024 Grandmother would tutor granddaughter every afternoon, teaching her about the global economy, the fair treatment of crew, and how to endure the devilish volatility of the shipping business. Virginia Heffernan, WIRED, 14 Feb. 2024 But new research confirms the region hasn't always seen this devilish combination of extreme heat and blistering drought. Doyle Rice, USA TODAY, 30 Jan. 2024 My literary tasks kept me fully occupied; my apprenticeship at the altar of technique, craft; the devilish intricacies of paragraphing, punctuation, dialogue placement. Truman Capote, Vogue, 1 Feb. 2024 Legendary California politician Willie Brown, the brash liberal with a devilish grin as wide as a $100 bill, will be remembered as not just a powerbroker and master fundraiser, but also as a clothes horse with few peers. Louis Sahagún, Los Angeles Times, 28 Jan. 2024

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'devilish.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

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

First Known Use

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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

Dictionary Entries Near devilish

Cite this Entry

“Devilish.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/devilish. Accessed 17 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition

devilish

adjective
dev·​il·​ish ˈdev-(ə-)lish How to pronounce devilish (audio)
1
: characteristic of or resembling the devil
devilish tricks
2
: extreme entry 1 sense 1, excessive
in a devilish hurry
devilish adverb
devilishly adverb
devilishness noun

More from Merriam-Webster on devilish

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